Being a good sport means several things, including playing fair, being a polite winner, accepting defeat with dignity, and being friendly regardless of the outcome of the game or match. When it comes to losing, it’s ok to feel disappointed, but it’s all about controlling your reaction. And the same goes for winning. Everybody likes to win, but that doesn’t mean it’s nice to gloat about it. With any game, the most important thing to remember is that winning and losing aren't as important as playing your best, having fun, getting exercise, practicing your skills, and being friendly with the other players.
As social trends and traditions change, maintaining a steady membership can be tricky for any local sporting club. More often than not, it’s the clubs that are willing to adapt and move with the times that thrive. In country Victoria, Buninyong Bowling Club is hitting the mark with a suite of inclusive programs run by passionate volunteers. Over the past four years, membership at the club has increased by around thirty per cent, directly contrasting with national trends which show a twenty-five per cent drop in participation rates in the sport. “We’ve just been really proactive in trying to increase our membership,” explains Club President Wayne Morgan. Proactive is putting it lightly, with the club implementing numerous strategies each aimed at connecting with a different group in the local community. It’s all about getting people on to the green and giving them a chance to experience bowls in a safe, friendly and inclusive environment. ‘The Corporate Cup’ is one such initiative. Aimed at non-members and the local business community, the barefoot bowls tournament is marketed as a networking opportunity for community groups and businesses. The annual ‘Giggles on the Grass’ event is popular with women who haven’t played bowls before, while regular ‘Come and Try’ days invite locals to have a bowl using free equipment and coaching. And then there is the ‘Junior Coaching Program’ which partners with the local primary school to introduce kids to the game of bowls. “It’s just sort of what we do, it’s just the culture of the club. But when I list it like that, it does sound like a lot!” Wayne says. A Level 3 Good Sports club, Buninyong Bowling Club lives the Good Sports philosophy, championing inclusivity and creating a safe environment for members and guests. “It’s a good thing to be able to promote to the community that we’re doing things like Responsible Service of Alcohol, free taxi calls and providing water and snacks. “We really try and aim for a friendly and inclusive culture in the club.” Wayne explains. It’s an approach that is proven to work, and a philosophy that is certainly paying off for Buninyong. Not only has the positive club culture supported the growth of membership, it has also contributed to a strong volunteering culture. The club is run almost completely by volunteers, and according to Wayne any one of the 135 club members would be willing to help if asked. Moving forward, the plan is to continue to grow. “We’re looking in any way to get more people on the greens and just coming and trying it and enjoying the atmosphere. “It’s a beautiful club and setting and we’re very lucky. We’re very proud of it.” Three Key PLAYS TO INCREASE CLUB MEMBERSHIP Use these practical tips to kick-start membership growth at your club. You might even like to print off this page and bring it to your next committee meeting.
A study of US elections has shown that the result of sports events can affect the results. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that when the home team wins the game before the election, the incumbent candidates can increase their share of the vote by percent. A loss had the opposite effect, and the effect is greater for higher-profile teams or unexpected wins and losses.  Also, when Washington Redskins win their final game before an election, then the incumbent President is more likely to win, and if the Redskins lose, then the opposition candidate is more likely to win; this has become known as the Redskins Rule .