Schools’ Investment Paying Dividends

first_imgThe 2016 Harvey Norman Schools Cup Results can be viewed hereRelated LinksSchools’ Investment Paying Dividends The inaugural and national Harvey Norman Schools Cup heralded a great success; on and off the field, in and out of the schoolyard.By @JulianTFA“They might have to move those large prize cheques, before the schools’ presentations come out,” came the innocent remark with a casual index finger aimed at the large format cheques in question, leaning in against the presentation dais.That it came from a parent watching intently on to the presentation ceremony about to get underway this past weekend in the bowels of the Sunshine Coast Stadium presentation area, was nothing too remarkable. Given this was a joint national TFA youth, seniors and schools event, it was probably a fair comment.Just an innocuous statement that the schools’ awards ceremony was about to commence and perhaps, as she casually observed, that the event staff might just have innocently missed something in their preparations.Meanwhile, the winning and runners-up schools from the inaugural Harvey Norman Schools Cup from Brisbane were being corralled and marshalled adjacent to the dais, in readiness to accept their trophies and medallions.Each with beaming smiles and mud and grit adorning their proud school playing uniforms, straight from their grand final encounters and much to their own parents’ delight, no doubt. Their success on the field, rather than the state of their outfits that is.Each of the players trying to push towards the back, such is the exuberance and then sudden bashfulness of youth when the spotlight emerges and, god forbid, a question being asked of them in public!With the large crowd assembled, schools teams roll-called and the official speeches underway, you know the look you observe on someone’s face when the jaw and, excuse the pun in this example, penny drops?“Are those cheques for the schools”?!With said parent and her husband looking at each other and away twice in such a way that they just answered their own question, and then to see the smiles emerge on both, was both a metaphor and a moment to reflect on just how far the idea and concept of a national schools Touch Football event had come.Indeed, those prize cheques (and trophies/medallions) had just the desired effect on these two; along with their children playing at their feet and the near-100 people bearing witness to the culmination of the inaugural Harvey Norman inspired and partnered event. Now, while it is acknowledged that we are not talking Australian Open Tennis prize cheques here, for those schools invested in the sport of touch football and competing here at the first running of the event, the $7,000 prize allocation adorning the oversized cardboard currency was….well, gold.As one school principal also in the crowd dryly observed: “the size of those prizes exceeds anything we possibly get though a (schools) submission.”In addition to the prestige of being crowned national champions, the winners in each division received a $3,500 Harvey Norman prize voucher for their school.A worthy investment clearly and worth every penny according to Harvey Norman’s national promotions and sponsorship manager, Stephanie Crockford.“It’s a really exciting opportunity to sponsor with TFA this successful inaugural event,” she said in readiness of her conferring of awards with TFA CEO, Colm Maguire.“To have so many schools to be so excited and to sign-up in this first year is amazing and we really look forward to seeing the growth.“And the footprint is enormous; there is just so much opportunity for growth within the sport and particularly through schools.”Touch Football Australia (TFA) working closely with major partner Harvey Norman went back to school literally in 2015, with the establishment of the school series and cup finale; engaging closely with schools and principals to be part of the national concept.The alignment of individual state all schools’ events under the one school series and banner is also crucial element of TFA’s strategic focus and investment in junior participation growth for the current strategic cycle. Notwithstanding, working closely too with partner states and their strong affiliation to respective education systems and schools’ networks.   The new three-day round robin Touch Football tournament involved the top performing school teams from the Harvey Norman School Series events over the preceding 12-month period, with teams invited by Touch Football Australia to participate in the Harvey Norman School’s Cup.This alignment would not have been possible, according to Maguire, without the support of Major Partner, Harvey Norman. Who, through their investment in significant prizes and the sport more broadly, have provided the incentive for schools across the country to participate in not only Touch Football but something bigger.“Looking back, the Harvey Norman National School’s Cup and the great feeling among the players, parents was incredible and we already can’t wait to go again next year,” he said.“The fact that the sponsorship and support through Harvey Norman has allowed us to utilise it as a mechanism to engage effectively with schools, which in some of the states across Australia has already resulted in growth of around 75% in terms of participation numbers, is immense,” he added.“Certainly when we start to put in place our ambassador and field officer programs over the next 12 months, we look forward to growing in this space as well.“It goes without saying we thank Harvey Norman for their valued investment in this space and indeed across the sport.”The Schools Cup event also provided a great opportunity for players and coaches to participate in development activities with Australian coaches and representatives also in attendance.While the winning schools of Brisbane State High School in the girls and Cavendish Road State High School also of Brisbane in the boys, will no doubt be pleased the cheque is in the mail, their investment in their Touch Football and coaching programs, along with all other competing schools, is paying off. Handsomely.last_img

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