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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 August 2010) . . Page.. 3815 ..

In my last little bit of time, I would like to talk about the importance of informal facilities. We saw the very unfortunate reports in the media last year of the dirt jump facility out at Watson being bulldozed because of a range of concerns by the government. I think that informal recreational and sporting facilities are an important part of the fabric of our community and an important opportunity for young people to express themselves and perhaps sometimes have the things they want as well as the things that are provided. The creativity and the cooperation that goes with these facilities is something that we should not lose sight of in the context of more official and organised activities.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.59): I thank Mr Seselja for bringing this matter of public importance to the attention of the Assembly and giving the opportunity for us all to address the importance of junior sport in the ACT.

As some of you are aware, I have been involved in numerous sporting organisations in Canberra. As President of Soccer Canberra, and especially in my role as the President of the ACT Olympic Council, during my term, I became a strong advocate of the Pierre de Coubertin awards and the opportunities they presented to ACT high schools and colleges. Baron Pierre de Coubertin said:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Over 100 years later, de Coubertin’s words are still particularly moving and relevant. His objective was not the transitory glory of a few medals and broken records by highly trained sporting elite, but the development of strong and healthy young men and women brought up on the highest principles of sport and fair play.

I am certainly not advocating that every junior that comes through the multitude of sports available to our youth today in the ACT should become Olympic athletes or champions at their chosen sport. I am speaking only about the benefits of participation, both from a health perspective and from the social contact—learning how to get on with team mates as well as the opposition, learning how to win with dignity and, at times, learning how to lose and to learn from the experience.

As an educational theorist, Pierre de Coubertin was convinced of the importance of sport for the development of the individual. He believed that the qualities of initiative, teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play should be encouraged in all young people who participate in sports and competitive games.

From the many years that I have been involved in junior sport, I can tell you that at this very moment our future leaders are being shaped at our local ovals, courts, tracks and fields. The lessons we teach our youth today will last them for the rest of their lives. And what better classroom to teach them about life than through sports? In this light, sport is not merely about winning or losing; it is about learning how to win with humility and at the same time be gracious in defeat. Through sports, our youth learn that competition is good and promotes respect for one’s opponent and team mates. Translated into productive adult life, teamwork and a willingness to work with others

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