If you build it, they will come.
Although it’s a slight alteration to the quote from “Field of Dreams,” the message stays true.
There are a number of examples in our community of new events, leagues or sports teams that have started up in recent years and their initial feedback has been outstanding. To preface this, some of these groups are rebirths of old groups or parts thereof, but in some cases it’s brand new.
Growing pains are expected when groups are started up again or a brand new event or league is formed, but if it’s unorganized or not done properly the opportunity for it to continue on or bring in new members becomes more difficult. If you’re going to do it, do it right.
The most recent example is the True Grit Race held by North Nova over the weekend. It was a fantastic event in its inaugural year as they were able to receive a lot of student and community support. There are big plans for it to grow and evolve in the future, but for it to get that far it had to have a successful first showing – which it did. They should have no problem continuing to grow this event.
Another prime example is the Pictou County Basketball Club. In their inaugural year as a registered club they had seven teams and that number is expected to grow. This is somewhat of a rebirth of old basketball associations in Pictou County, but they’re doing it in a way that hopes to be sustainable.
Club president Vivek Sood said their focus was initially putting a group of people in place that could ensure the club was being managed properly before moving their focus to things on the court. He said that they had great feedback this year from those involved as players or on the board and hopes to see that continue in the future. As he said, they don’t want it to be something that fizzles out, so they put their foundation in place first, so they can hopefully give kids a place to play for years to come.
On the high school front the Nova Scotia High School Field Lacrosse League (NSHSFLL) is in its second season. Last year there were four Division 2 teams in the inaugural year and all four (NNEC, NRHS, Pictou Academy and Hants East) are back this year.
It is not an NSSAF sanctioned league, but the schools involved still had to approve adding it as a club team. There is still a lot to be learned by the newly trained officials, coaches and players, but it’s moving in the right direction.
With rugby or track and field being the main spring sports here at the high schools for the past number of years, this definitely filled a void for those looking for something else to participate in, although there had already been a separate indoor group started in Westville by Brendon Smithson a few years ago.
That indoor recreational program has grown past simply teaching the game to the point where the Pictou County Lacrosse Association was formed this year with the hope of having competitive teams take part at the peewee, bantam and midget levels – if the numbers are there.
As the group said, they saw that the interest in the sport was there and now that they have a base to draw from they want to grow it further into something more competitive. They will have a non-competitive program for novice and atom, which will hopefully lead to continued growth and success by the association into the future.
For any of these clubs or events there is always a group of dedicated volunteers needed to get things off the ground. Volunteers truly are the backbone of groups like this and in this county there is an abundance of dedicated people to help. When creating something new, if done properly it’s definitely possible to create a sustainable and successful event, club or league.
Again, if you build it, they will come – it’s whether you do it right or not that determines if they’ll come back.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.