|Basketball in the St George area needs a home|
Whether you know all the history of our Association, or nothing at all, we certainly know that our Saints Family always want more spaces to play basketball, whether that is for recreation and competition, outdoor or indoor.
You will have seen a video on our social media pages from Bayside Council Councillor Paul Sedrak – formerly a coach in our local competition! – discussing a recent motion passed for Bayside Council to look into opportunities for more outdoor basketball courts. We’re so excited to support and speak on behalf of this motion, in order to get more spaces for basketball in our area.
A Brief History of St George Basketball
St George Basketball is a not-for-profit, incorporated Association, operating since 1974, and governed by Basketball NSW, Basketball Australia and FIBA. We span Georges River Council and Bayside Council and almost all our board, staff, volunteers and players are from these local areas. Throughout the years, St George has been home to so many players from around the local areas, including Annie La Fleur, Australian Opal and current FIBA Oceania Ambassador, and Thon Maker, 2016 #10 NBA draft pick, Australian Boomer and currently in the NBA G League. St George Basketball, like so many smaller Associations, is run mostly by volunteers.
There’s No Place Like Home
Despite this long history, St George Basketball, and the St George area, still does not have a dedicated home for our local basketball community. Each year, St George Basketball pays over $200,000 in court hire fees – to multiple venues – in order to provide basketball for our community. Learn to play, all our development programs, our girls-only programs, local competition, and representative basketball all need space to play, and these spaces have to be hired off third-party organisations.
Add in that indoor court space overall is limited, so demand for the courts available increases, meaning there are less opportunities to just shoot around with your friends on a court, because it is always booked by other local sports or businesses.
For us, basketball has always been a place that we can feel like part of something, a place where there are people like us who just want to play, a place where you feel at home, even though you can’t wear your PJs on the court. That’s why we’re excited to launch a formal campaign to get a permanent home for basketball in the St George Area – “There’s No Place Like Home”.
There’s No Place Like Home
We’re so excited to be exploring opportunities for more outdoor basketball courts in the area, but changes in weather conditions – long hot summers, long periods of rain – mean that outdoor courts can’t be used as often as we’d like – plus there is lighting needs during winter months, noise restrictions if courts are too close to people’s homes, etc. Indoor facilities allow for play all year round, for longer hours in the day, and since facilities are staffed, allow for safe and secure recreation for players or all ages.
St George Basketball also want to make sure that we can provide programs for every person who wants to play basketball – whether it’s socially with friends, young people just learning to play, women reporting or representing the St George area in elite competition. With additional court space, we can dedicate efforts to additional programs like special needs programs (like the Special Olympics), girls only programs designed to increase female participation in sport, or specialised basketball competitions like walking basketball for those who are less mobile, or wheelchair basketball to compete at the Paralympic Games.
By The Community, For The Community
So many of our local venues, and venues around the country, are run by third party companies – for-profit organisations who’s goal is to make more money and profits for their owners, and not necessarily provide accessibility for the community. Community run facilities ensure that revenue is returned directly to the facility and local community – through staffing, maintenance, community events and utilising local businesses for items.
Being run by the community also ensure the cost of court hire remain sustainable for not-for-profit sporting groups, and multisport facilities cater for much more than just basketball. Local groups like Endeavour Volleyball, one of NSW’s biggest sporting clubs, need more space for their games and training and it provides benefits the community to keep local sporting clubs local.
In addition, community spaces are more likely to create a sense of belonging and ownership in the wider population – NSW Police have said that “Community ownership of public space sends positive signals to the community. Places that feel owned and cared for are likely to be used, enjoyed and revisited. People who have guardianship or ownership of areas are more likely to provide effective supervision and to intervene in crime than passing strangers and criminals rarely commit crime in areas where the risk of detection and challenge are high. Effective guardians are often ordinary people who are spatially ‘connected’ to a place and feel an association with, or responsibility for it.”
Basketball Is For Everyone
St George Basketball Association, and our local communities, are some of the most diverse areas in Sydney. We welcome players and their families of every age, religion, nationality, culture or ability, and aim to build a family atmosphere amongst our members, to benefit not just basketball, but our community.
And since it’s election time – it’s best that we note that we are completely bi-partisan – we we don’t advocate for any political party, but we do support our local Members of Parliament, Senators, and Councillors, who have supported, and continue to support, St George Basketball.
More Than Just Basketball
We don’t want our local community to think that we’re just here for basketball. We want all our local community to benefit from the advantages that an indoor stadium can bring, including:
– Increased revenue in the Council area – restaurants, local shops and cafes will benefit from athletes and their families visiting local businesses, including our members, our opposition teams, families, friends and guests.
– Additional indoor court space, allowing more opportunities for the local community to play sport in all seasons and weather – with all the rain we’ve had in the start of 2022, think of all the time we could have been on court!
– Greater access for local community groups and school groups to suitable facilities – basketball, badminton, volleyball, futsal, baton twirling, gymnastics, etc
– Local jobs created by facility management, café, cleaning, etc,, as part of the expanded programs that can be provided, plus construction roles during the building phase
– Greater access for aged and differently abled people to access physical activity spaces suited to their needs
– Develop facilities for both junior & senior sports, and provide high-level facilities, creating elite pathway opportunities for all sports
– Tourism Research Australia also shows an athlete will spend approximately $262 per day while travelling – inclusive of accommodation and general costs such as meals and drinks. Multi-day basketball tournaments and camps can be run at a local facility, bringing not just athletes, but parents and spectators.
How You Can Get Involved
Over the next few months, and regardless of if you’re from Bayside Council or Georges River Council areas, we want you to be a part of creating a home for basketball in the St George area. It might mean helping with fundraising, contacting your local Councillor or Member of Parliament, or even just talking to people about how great basketball is, but we just need more facilities.
Make sure you’re following our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook, and get ready to be a part of something big!