Last week, our school had a special visit from Aussie X, a division of X Movement, a program geared towards school-age children to promote physical activity and positive thinking. Through the use of sport, specifically Aussie Rules Football, the coaches engage the students through play and team building.
T-Bone (Phil) and Meatball (Cade) were the two instructors from Aussie X. We learned that in Australia, many people go by nicknames so we called them by their nicknames during their time with us. They were at our school for three days teaching classes from kindergarten to grade eight. On the evening of the last day, parents were welcome to attend the lessons at the school so they could participate in the same fun activities their children did earlier during the week.
We were given a two-hour window where my students were first shown a video about footy. After a brief introduction, Meatball asked a few questions to make sure they were listening. They discussed the basic skills and rules of Aussie football and then out we went.
The students warmed up with some simple games involving listening skills and partner work. They danced, skipped around, acted silly, and generally, had a good time. Afterwards, they tossed the football and learned how to kick the ball properly with their hands in proper position. One of the later games involved them aiming the balls at Meatball and myself. Not MY favourite game 😛 however, I was lucky that the kids hadn’t perfected their kicks yet. I left unscathed.
At the end of the session, Meatball handed out some green bracelets and taught them some Aussie high fives, which continued to solidify the friendship between him and the kids. They liked his cheesy jokes so why not a goofy handshake. Mix it in with some dance moves and they were hooked. Everyone left happy and with an accent (LOL).
I had a chance to sit down with the two instructors and picked their brains about footy, X Movement, and life in Australia.
HTM: Is footy the national sport in Australia much like hockey is in Canada?
T-Bone: Yes. It’s the Australian Football League.
HTM: What attracted you to the sport?
T-Bone: Everyone’s doing it. Every town has a league.
Meatball: You grow up around it.
HTM: Is playing professionally part of the plan for you?
T-Bone: Not for me.
Meatball: When I was younger, it was part of the plan.
T-Bone: Well, you kinda play professionally. You get paid to play.
Meatball: Sorta. It’s not a lot, but yeah, I get paid.
HTM: How old are you and how long have you been playing?
T-Bone: I’m 29. I’ve been playing since I was six. The league here is like your little league.
Meatball: I’ve played local league and interleague which is like rep since I was 9. I’m 20.
HTM: Who decided to pitch this sport outside of Australia?
T-Bone: The main guy is from Australia, Emile “The Dragon” Studham.
HTM: My husband mentioned seeing this on Dragon’s Den.
Meatball: Yes! So we were on Shark Tank too. They came to North America and then expanded.
HTM: Was the focus more on the physical aspect or teamwork for this program?
T-Bone: It was more on the teamwork aspect where everyone is learning a new sport. All the kids are on equal playing field so to speak. There are always the kids who are the athletes, some are the artists, etc. Here everyone can learn to kick the ball the same.
Meatball: Footy makes them all equal. Kids get to shine for those two hours because it’s new to everyone.
HTM: Besides the physical exercise, what do you enjoy about teaching footy to the kids?
T-Bone: Kids can just hang out. We like the interaction, it’s fun!
Meatball: I like having impact on the kids. Showing them how to be positive and caring to others. It’s treating people equally.
HTM: My students wanted a class nickname. What would you give us?
Meatball: I think something fierce. Markham Redbacks like the spider.
HTM: Thanks so much for your time. Much appreciated.
T-Bone: You’re welcome.
Meatball: No problem.
For more information about Aussie X and X Movement, please check out their website.