PURPOSE: Kids enjoy some footy at North Ipswich Reserve.
PURPOSE: Kids enjoy some footy at North Ipswich Reserve.

True reasons local sport must return

OPINION: Recommencing community sport is equally as important as restarting professional leagues.

As well as being a reward for the effort every Aussie had put in since restrictions began, it would fill them with hope for light at the end of the tunnel.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has indicated community sport would be among the first restrictions eased but the national cabinet would first weigh up risk to public health and the economic and social benefits.

This is sure to be music to the ears of a sport-loving nation starved of it favourite pastime. As long as precautions are taken, community sport should start as soon as possible.

While benefits to physical health, wellbeing and local economies are undeniable, sport also has far-reaching social implications. If there is one positive of the coronavirus shutdown, it is the fact it has offered sport an opportunity to better understand its role within society.

At times in the past, sport has been guilty of seeing itself existing alongside or separate to society. Players' pay scales dwarf those of medical practitioners and other professionals whose contributions have been crucial throughout the crisis.

Reverence for sportspeople is clearly disproportional. Sure, the disruption has been costly for professional leagues but it has had far greater ramifications at a grassroots level.

While we have missed watching the stars on TV and in the stadiums, the absence of sport allows us to reassess why it is important. Sport is not about generating millions of dollars. Its true value lies in enjoying the spirit of competition and fostering strong social connections. At its core it is entertainment designed to occupy people and prevent society unravelling into chaos. In ancient Rome, citizens attended the colosseum. In 2020, we flock to the MCG or regional fields. As sporting codes reset their pay scales, society has an opportunity to reimagine how it views sport.