Sockballs turn sports carnival into a whole different ball game
It was a sports carnival with a unique twist at Floreat’s Alderbury Reserve last Monday as hundreds of students from 15 secondary colleges gathered for the Associated and Catholic Colleges Year 7 Lightning Carnival with a special cause at heart.
The carnival, usually held in May, was moved to October this year, a shift that meant it coincided with Catholic Mission’s annual Socktober schools engagement initiative.
With a range of winter sports taking place across the day, it was an afternoon round of soccer that caught the eye of spectators with a modification that literally made it a different ball game.
“In support of Catholic Mission’s Socktober program, our participating schools, which represent many faiths, were asked to bring along a sockball to the Year 7 Lightning Carnival,” said Renee Tedesco, Inclusion and Participation Officer at ACC. “These balls replaced the standard soccer balls in all games for one round of the carnival.”
The sockball, made of recycled material like socks, leftover plastic bags and old t-shirts, is the iconic symbol of the Socktober initiative and represents the reality of young people in low socioeconomic communities around the world. This year’s campaign supports children facing malnutrition and food insecurity in Ethiopia.
“It was an adjustment for students to substitute in the balls made by hand which uneven and lumpy,” Renee said. “Some of the balls fell apart mid-game and had to be remade. But the boys and girls learnt that this is the reality for students just like them around the world. It was a real eye-opener.”
While the modified round of soccer aimed to raise awareness of issues of equality and justice for participating students, they are also encouraged to put that into action by signing up and kicking goals for good – plenty of which came at Monday’s carnival.
“Incorporating an initiative like Socktober into our Lightning Carnival makes a lot of sense, as the day is less about scores and results and more about participation, equality, and the positive values we find in sport,” said Renee.
“A global game like soccer can be a vehicle for service, which is at the forefront of what we teach in our schools.”
Judith Nyamuli, Catholic Mission’s Schools Engagement Coordinator, said the sockballs added a challenging and meaningful element to the day. “Including the sockballs certainly brought an interesting twist to the carnival, but it also started a conversation among the participating students about the reality for children in situations of vulnerability,” she said.
“That was a big goal for us as we continue our support of communities in Ethiopia and around the world, and we look forward to future opportunities to engage with ACC schools.”