Last week, after a last-minute announcement that the Bombers’ interschool game had been cancelled, the young athletes were understandably disappointed. Keen to keep enthusiasm levels and team morale high, coach Russell Vaoiva was about to use the time to brush up their ball skills in an impromptu training session.
But then he and team manager Cass Sealy saw a golden opportunity for the Bombers to score some extra playing time with a bit of friendly father and son rivalry. Not wanting to let their team down, the dads needed little encouragement to exchange their role as side-line supporters to become active participants in the game.
And providing both excitement and entertainment, they laughingly showed their boys what the ‘older generation’ could do.
While it’s safe to say the Sunderland cheering squad hadn’t been expecting anything more strenuous than keeping the bench warm, the good-natured fathers all valiantly took to the court and gave their sons an afternoon to remember.
Year 5 player Nathan Cheng was delighted with the chance to play against the team patriarchs.
“It was a bit challenging but mostly fun,” he says. “The best part was when I narrowly snatched the ball off my dad.”
Adds teammate and fellow Year 5 student Brooklynn McKeown, “The adults were really good, but it was loads of fun. We are looking forward to a rematch.”
“The boys showed their skills running circles around the dads who, in return, I am very sure were holding back and letting our boys build their confidence,” confirms Cass. “Lots of laughs and a few sore backs ensued, and it was a lovely afternoon all around.”