Sunday, March 15, 2009

Belonging - Go the Warriors!

The NZ Warriors played their first game of the season last night against the Paramatta Eels. I won't even try and interpret the game play by play, although I will note that we WON!! My partner and I got season tickets for Christmas and we are very excited about where we are sitting, pretty good seats if I do say so myself:

Check out the view here:

The game started with a minute of silence to honour the life of Sonny Fai who was tragically taken from us while saving his brother, the Warriors wear his name above their heart on their new jerseys and he is listed as player 138 for NRL Season 2009.

What provoked me to write about this topic was not the game or the inspiring tribute to Sonny Fai but the atmosphere the Warriors game creates (excluding the drunkens at the end of the night).  While parking up around the corner we saw types of people in all walks of life making their way to the first game of the season - guys in Warriors everything (even socks), guys in stockings and dresses, young woman, mature woman, children, teenages, people of different ethnicitites...we talked about the impact such an event has for bringing people together and how exciting it was to be a part of it.  We carefully made our way to our newly bought seats checking out the people around us - 6 rows and a bay across from my dad and 3 rows in front of our friends - we watched as people hugged and hi-5'd as they reunited with their Warrior Member colleagues.

After a while, and agreeing that the seats we had were very good, our neighbours nestled into their Warriors season home - a couple with two children.  The father looked around and noted that all the people that should be there were in the right place, (oh yes they're still here, and yep them too) then he turned to us and said - Did you guys buy these seats?  Um, yes we did, apparently we got them because the people before us didn't renew, he explained that it was strange for people not to have renewed these seats  because these were really good seats and he knew because had been coming for 4 years. Pretty happy with our purchase we smiled and continued watching the pre-game entertainment (J.Williams)

As I sat there and soaked in the lights, noises, people, smells, body language and environment, I made my connection to Belonging - these regular season membership holders belonged here, and for a minute or two we didn't, One day we will feel as though we belong, we will learn the names and language of those that sit next to us and feel a sense of comradery (when the Warriors win or lose).  We'll learn that there is a guy who always dresses up, a loyal Cowboys supporter, we will accept the language (cursing and all), and adapt to the ways people talk to the players as if they were close friends.

I made a few connections last night, but the biggest one was that 'belonging' to something is important, it lifts your self-esteen, it makes you feel great and it gives you a sense of connectedness which I believe is vital to living in the 21st Century. I have tried to create this for my son (other than the fact that he has a huge family) I created, manage and coach a basketball team for my son and his friends - he belongs there, I drive to a school where the teachers take the time to know all of the children, the roll is fairly small and there are many families who know me and my son - he belongs there, he goes to karate with his siblings and enjoys the classes - he belongs there, he has a large extended family - he belongs there.  He identifies with being Maori, Cook Island and Tongan - he belongs there, he has been raised to appreciate the richness and diversity of South Auckland - he belongs there. So, in amongst the excitement of the first Warriors game I asked myself, what might it feel like if you didn't belong - to anything, to anyone, to any group. How might that impact on learning and life?

1 comment:

  1. Man the Warriors are awesome! Good to see the lil general making his mark. It must've been a great atmosphere there. Enjoyed the read. Go the Warriors!


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