Personal story

Baw Baw LDAT virtually shooting hoops

Tournament winner James Short during the FIFA tournament

Despite coronavirus restrictions, young people in Baw Baw, Victoria were still able to get involved in competitive sport.

Tournament winner James Short during the FIFA tournament

Tournament winner James Short during the FIFA tournament in August, courtesy of Baw Baw Shire Council.

Despite coronavirus restrictions, young people in Baw Baw, Victoria were still able to get involved in competitive sport.

Baw Baw Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) held two PlayStation 4 football and basketball tournaments in August and September 2020. Approximately 40 young locals aged between 14-20 years old registered and the sessions were held on Zoom video conferencing app.

The activity was an alternative to the LDAT’s Hoops at Night Program, where young people play basketball and have a space to connect. Regular programs were not able to run, so it was important to the LDAT to think outside the box.

The main purpose of the online tournament was to encourage participants to connect, build a sense of belonging and provide a community feel to those who needed it most during isolation.

“The NBA 2k20 Basketball Tournament was brilliant! It was great to meet so many new people and play a game we all love through these tough times. 10/10 absolutely recommend to everyone that did not participate to give it a go next time they run an event like this,” said Damien Paul, winner of the September tournament.

Kicking goals and shooting hoops

The first tournament held in August was on the PlayStation 4 FIFA game. A special guest Mouad Zwed attended, who is from the Melbourne Victory E-League. First prize was taken home by James Short from Warragul. James won a signed Melbourne Victory Jersey and a $250 EB Games voucher.

“I had a great time playing the FIFA20 online tournament with everyone. I thought it was very well run and everyone involved really enjoyed it,” reflected James.

Early September was a great time for the second tournament, this time on the NBA 2K20 basketball game. It coincided with the NBA playoffs. Three speed rounds saw 22 players compete, which ended with a final elimination round. Baw Baw resident Damien Paul took home the prize for the night.

A chance for connection

During game breaks, players shared their NBA knowledge and participated in NBA trivia questions. Participants had the opportunity to chat on Zoom. Players joked around and wished each other good luck for the next round. Results and the ladder were shared here after each round.

“The Zoom chat for everyone to check back in before and after each game worked really well. It was evident that this built excitement and brought everyone closer together,” said Clint Proctor, Senior Community Development Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

The difference in ages of the players meant that older participants were able to encourage and take on a mentoring role for the younger players in the tournament. Players were also able to connect with each other over PlayStation 4 and become friends on the console.

“This is the best part about the tournament. We know they will connect and play online after this and will hopefully become friends outside of the PlayStation too,” said Clint.

The LDAT partners are Baw Baw Shire Council, Latrobe Community Health Service, Victoria Police, GippSport, Gippsland Primary Healthcare Network, West Gippsland Healthcare Group and Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co Operative (GEGAC).

Tournament winner James Short during the FIFA tournament