Riverina football club turns drinking culture into community sport

Stopping alcohol-based celebrations in the locker rooms is one way a sports club in southern NSW is turning a culture of drinking into community sport.

Jesse Kent, president of the Culcairn Lions football and netball club, said his club is implementing measures to reduce alcohol consumption on match days.

“Sports clubs are not somewhere where you have to feel pressured to drink alcohol to fit in,” he said.

Mr Kent said traditions such as encouraging a player to have a beer if they won the best on the ground had been eliminated.

A white plate with a lion's head and the words Culcairn Lions
The Culcairn Football and Netball Club is proactive in controlling alcohol consumption.(ABC Riverina: Emily Doak)

“In bush country league football we have juniors [players] come and play in the senior netball and senior football teams,” said Mr Kent.

“We wanted to be aware of what we’re promoting in terms of alcohol consumption after the games and encourage people to change clothes, get out of the rooms and then have a beer in the large clubroom.”

The club also provides bus transportation after social events and has introduced more family-friendly activities for members.

“Creating a safe environment that is still fun, but we really want to promote ourselves as a family club,” said Mr Kent.

Sports and alcohol often go hand in hand

Deakin University senior research fellow Bosco Rowland has examined the relationship between community sports and alcohol consumption.

“There is a strong history of drinking in sports clubs,” said Dr. Rowland.

“Often in rural areas where there are limited opportunities to socialize, the sports club becomes the meeting place and because there is a lot of drinking, it is often the introduction to alcohol for some people.”

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