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Cub life: Lions go virtual to keep community engaged

Lives in Moe

On a typical Thursday night between April and September, you would struggle to find a seat at Moe Football Netball Club’s social rooms at Ted Summerton Reserve.

As with many grassroots sports clubs, Thursdays traditionally include the main training session, followed by team selection, meals and often entertainment.

COVID-19 put a stop to that, but like many clubs and community groups, the Lions found a creative way to ‘keep the wheel spinning’ and ensure their members – playing and non-playing – remained connected in lieu of traditional social gatherings.

“It’s just to keep people interested and engaged,” club vice-president Clinton Taylor said.

“We’ve got a strong cohort of supporters that Saturdays are their life. They spend all day there on a Saturday and during the week that’s all they talk about or all they do and we were worried about the fact that they may not have any interests outside of community sport.”

Vice-president Clinton Taylor

The Gippsland League football and netball season was suspended back in March, prior to round one, and officially cancelled in August, following three weeks of junior grade matches.

Despite there being no prospect of matches in 2020, Moe put together a 10-week ‘Lion Lotto’ fundraiser, with live draws taking place on the club’s private Facebook group page every Thursday.

The initial 100 tickets sold in a flash and another 100 soon followed. But the popularity didn’t end there, with up to 100 people tuning in live each week and each video achieving between 600-700 views.

In addition to the spinning of the prize wheel, those watching have been invited to guess the identity of the ‘guest lion’ of the week, which encourages – and generates – plenty of conversation.

“We dress up a past or present player or official in our mascot suit we have for the club and we start reading out stats about that person online. So no one knows who it is and we allow a few questions about them and the first person to guess it live wins the prize for the round,” Clinton said.

“Because it’s a live video feed they just type their guess in and it comes up in the comments… so as people are guessing we’re responding and giving them feedback, saying yay or nay or having a bit of a laugh. There are often some funny guesses in there.”

Among those to have donned the suit – in spirit rather than physically in recent weeks – are club trainer Danny Anderson, past player Adam Kennedy, netballer Carly Mullen-Bianconi, senior coach Lachlan Sim and popular clubman Martin Weir.

Filming initially took place at the clubrooms but later shifted to the home of club member Paul Walsh, who took on hosting duties during the stage three lockdown period.

The content has also evolved over time, including re-enactments of famous club moments and a gradually unveiled cartoon illustration of senior player Joel Bragagnolo as an adaptation of the guest lion.

 

Guess who: A cartoon impression of a senior footballer formed part of Moe FNC’s ‘guess the lion’ quiz.

 

Among those tuning in each week is netballer Elly Brown, who said the activities have helped fill the void of playing the sport she loves and the community interaction that comes with it.

“I look forward to it each week to join in and have a bit of a look at what’s going on. It’s a good way to keep people still involved when we can’t be there doing things physically,” Elly said.

“Mum and I bought a ticket for the spin of the wheel to go into the draw to win prizes each week… so we join in to have a look and see if hopefully our number is drawn and it’s just nice to be excited to think about who is going to be in the lion suit or whatever the quiz is for that week and we try to participate in that as well.”

While it all takes place online, the club has done its best to ensure as many people interested in the club as possible can be involved.

Clinton said the word has been shared through the club’s ‘Centurions’ network – a coterie group of older members, who receive information through email and the post, rather than social media – while the level of interest from the wider community had also been a pleasant surprise.

“I was showing a house to a lady in her mid-60s and she commented, ‘I’ve seen you on Thursday nights, I’ve been really enjoying it’, and she’s a just lady who has had involvement at the club plenty of years ago but not at the moment,” he said.

“People are loving it and just getting some old faces back involved and seeing some of the comments from interstate, people from all over Australia are watching it and getting involved, people that have moved away are still following the club on social media and sharing stories from decades gone by which has been great.”

Cub life: Lions go virtual to keep community engaged

Lives in Moe

On a typical Thursday night between April and September, you would struggle to find a seat at Moe Football Netball Club’s social rooms at Ted Summerton Reserve.

As with many grassroots sports clubs, Thursdays traditionally include the main training session, followed by team selection, meals and often entertainment.

COVID-19 put a stop to that, but like many clubs and community groups, the Lions found a creative way to ‘keep the wheel spinning’ and ensure their members – playing and non-playing – remained connected in lieu of traditional social gatherings.

“It’s just to keep people interested and engaged,” club vice-president Clinton Taylor said.

“We’ve got a strong cohort of supporters that Saturdays are their life. They spend all day there on a Saturday and during the week that’s all they talk about or all they do and we were worried about the fact that they may not have any interests outside of community sport.”

Vice-president Clinton Taylor

The Gippsland League football and netball season was suspended back in March, prior to round one, and officially cancelled in August, following three weeks of junior grade matches.

Despite there being no prospect of matches in 2020, Moe put together a 10-week ‘Lion Lotto’ fundraiser, with live draws taking place on the club’s private Facebook group page every Thursday.

The initial 100 tickets sold in a flash and another 100 soon followed. But the popularity didn’t end there, with up to 100 people tuning in live each week and each video achieving between 600-700 views.

In addition to the spinning of the prize wheel, those watching have been invited to guess the identity of the ‘guest lion’ of the week, which encourages – and generates – plenty of conversation.

“We dress up a past or present player or official in our mascot suit we have for the club and we start reading out stats about that person online. So no one knows who it is and we allow a few questions about them and the first person to guess it live wins the prize for the round,” Clinton said.

“Because it’s a live video feed they just type their guess in and it comes up in the comments… so as people are guessing we’re responding and giving them feedback, saying yay or nay or having a bit of a laugh. There are often some funny guesses in there.”

Among those to have donned the suit – in spirit rather than physically in recent weeks – are club trainer Danny Anderson, past player Adam Kennedy, netballer Carly Mullen-Bianconi, senior coach Lachlan Sim and popular clubman Martin Weir.

Filming initially took place at the clubrooms but later shifted to the home of club member Paul Walsh, who took on hosting duties during the stage three lockdown period.

The content has also evolved over time, including re-enactments of famous club moments and a gradually unveiled cartoon illustration of senior player Joel Bragagnolo as an adaptation of the guest lion.

 

Guess who: A cartoon impression of a senior footballer formed part of Moe FNC’s ‘guess the lion’ quiz.

 

Among those tuning in each week is netballer Elly Brown, who said the activities have helped fill the void of playing the sport she loves and the community interaction that comes with it.

“I look forward to it each week to join in and have a bit of a look at what’s going on. It’s a good way to keep people still involved when we can’t be there doing things physically,” Elly said.

“Mum and I bought a ticket for the spin of the wheel to go into the draw to win prizes each week… so we join in to have a look and see if hopefully our number is drawn and it’s just nice to be excited to think about who is going to be in the lion suit or whatever the quiz is for that week and we try to participate in that as well.”

While it all takes place online, the club has done its best to ensure as many people interested in the club as possible can be involved.

Clinton said the word has been shared through the club’s ‘Centurions’ network – a coterie group of older members, who receive information through email and the post, rather than social media – while the level of interest from the wider community had also been a pleasant surprise.

“I was showing a house to a lady in her mid-60s and she commented, ‘I’ve seen you on Thursday nights, I’ve been really enjoying it’, and she’s a just lady who has had involvement at the club plenty of years ago but not at the moment,” he said.

“People are loving it and just getting some old faces back involved and seeing some of the comments from interstate, people from all over Australia are watching it and getting involved, people that have moved away are still following the club on social media and sharing stories from decades gone by which has been great.”

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