Sixty girls from St Andrews, St Clare and St Mark’s Colleges converged on Harvey Park, Marayong on Monday 17th November to experience and build skills in the game of Flag Gridiron.
Feedback from students about the day indicates that they enjoyed meeting and developing inter-school friendships and were able to transform themselves through the power of this sport. Teachers, Amanda Forsyth (St Clare College) and Jonathan Firth (St Mark’s College) were so impressed by the skills the St Andrews College team had acquired that they too were inspired to promote the sport in their own schools.
Flag Gridiron is a non-contact version of American Football (NFL) where players wear tags around their waists, that are ripped off instead of players being tackled to the ground. The aim of the game is to make “touchdowns” by using offensive and defensive collaborative plays. To be successful, teams need to develop strong teamwork, communication, leadership & planning skills, leading to an increase in trust & bond-forming, all coupled with athletic ability and a desire to succeed.
The game is becoming very popular in Northern America and worldwide as parents and students recognise the need to reduce the chance of a head concussion and its associated implications.
Mrs Irene Clayton (St Andrews College) is promoting the sport in conjunction with Paul Manera (Bring It On Sports and Gridiron Australia) with lead coaches Mr Michael Vrcelj (Coach Wolf) and Ms Aynslee Rodger (Coach JJ). Before becoming involved in the sport Mrs Clayton described herself as uninterested in representative sport. However, once she saw the girls’ excitement and empowered attitudes of both athletic and previously sedentary students towards playing, Mrs Clayton was convinced to push for a PDSSSC competition. This development day was stage one of bringing this plan to reality.
Introducing this sport to the PDSSSC calendar means that there are alternate options for students to improve their wellbeing, demonstrate their majestic athleticism, personally develop competency in critical and creative thinking, capably manage themselves in social and sporting situations and to develop intercultural understanding whilst building a new Diocesan sporting community. All of these elements support the policy “ A Crown For Australia - Striving for the best in our sporting nation” recently released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.