A GROUP of Moree students had a ball when an Australian sporting champion gave a workshop at St Philomena’s. This, despite the fact the children had never heard of the champion — or the sport.
Daniel Boyle was the 2010 national champion of footbag, a competition which resembles something of a cross between soccer, breakdancing and a Jackie Chan movie.
“Footbag is using your body to move around a small bag, often known as Hacky Sack,” Boyle said.
More than 80 students headed to the assembly area during their lunchbreak to see Boyle in action and try the game for themselves.
“I was really impressed with the students, they were all very enthusiastic,” he said.
“What really helped was that before I arrived, some footbag videos had been shown to the different classes.
“I really want to thank Jess Redgrove for really getting on board and getting the kids excited about it.”
Originally from Bega, Boyle spent the last few years living in Chile.
There he won US$40,000 to found Sports Slash Life, a company which aims to help fund athletes from non-professional sports.
It also uses sport as an educational tool, which Boyle began by teaching English in marginal South American schools with footbag.
Now back in Canberra with his Chilean wife and young son, the Bega boy is looking to continue his work in regional Australia.
“I am hoping to do more workshops and events in country towns,” he said.
“All the major world footbag events are held in big cities, but there’s nothing stopping events from happening anywhere.
“The level of equipment needed is very low.
“Having grown up in Bega, I know what a great sport it can be for country kids.”
Boyle said he hoped the enthusiasm from Moree’s workshop would stick.
“I really hope some of the kids keep at the sport, it’s amazing what you can learn these days from videos,” he said.
“We have a national championships each year, and I plan to attend the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark next July.”
For more information check out www.footbag.org, or get in touch with Daniel by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org