Feelin’ Kinda Sporty

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By H.R

This year in June, on one of those unusually sunny but crisp winter days, 10,000 people made their way through the gates of Elsternwick Park to attend 2015’s Community Cup, an event which Reclink Australia has proudly hosted for the past twenty-one years.

For those of you unaware, the Community Cup is, well, a rather unique game of football between the Rockdogs, a group of rough and ready musicians and the Megahertz, radio presenters from PBS and RRR.

After depositing $15 into the plastic Reclink buckets on entry, and once the match itself is under way, it’s a nail biting fiasco of ball fumbling and missed goals right until the last siren. It’s a game where the rules are a little bent, players are determined and streakers run bare foot and bare bummed across the playing oval, as light on their feet as fairies on a frozen lake.

Each year as traditions grow you learn to expect the unexpected and it really is, as the name suggests, a community event with something for everyone. What more could you want on a Sunday afternoon? Especially when all the proceeds go to a good cause, and most especially when you get to see your favourite rock star in a pair of short-shorts during the middle of winter.

“The Reclink Community Cup, its rules and culture are made by people, strongly embedded in its early beginnings all those years ago” says Reclink CEO John Ballis, “when a band of friends, local musicians and radio football wannabes gathered together to play their form of Aussie rules football.”

Eagle-eyed umpiring by Brian Nankervis and Dino Marnika kept players on the field in check as the two teams battled it out, while some “expert” commentary from Tony Biggs, Leaping Larry L, and Rauri Curra kept us all informed throughout the game. Music from Melbourne band Adalita and later, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra at half time got the blood pumping back into the cold toes of many, as did a kick to kick on the oval.

The Rockdogs rolled with the punches this year but it was the Megahurtz who set the pace. And as the final sirens rang, up went the red and white pom-poms and the bouncing wigs of the cheerleaders. For all their hard work delivering music around the clock and spinning the records we love, the Megahertz well and truly deserved to bring home the Cup.

But as great as it is to lap up the atmosphere, the beer and the hot chips, it’s important we take a moment to remind ourselves why it’s so important to support the Community Cup in the first place.

“For Reclink it’s the one day in the year when community radio sector and local musicians band together” says Ballis, “to help raise much needed funds to enable us to deliver sport, recreation and arts programs that make a huge difference to lives of the neediest in our community.”

Reclink assists in helping the community’s most vulnerable; youth at risk, people experiencing mental illness, homelessness, disabilities, drug and alcohol dependencies, and financial hardship by raising money through various social events.

“Over the past twenty-five years Reclink Australia has been rebuilding the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in our community using what may be considered as unsophisticated means, like football, [annually] to an estimated 10,000 Australians.”

If that’s not a good enough reason to enjoy a game of footy, I don’t know what is!

Soon it was time to get the dogs to bed and the kids back on their leashes. Those brave enough to endure the cold stuck around to enjoy some foot-stomping madness by The Graveyard Train, which rounded up another great day at the Community Cup for another year!

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