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The Clark family
The Clark family all share a love of basketball

13 Feb 2017


It seemed like the impossible dream a year ago when the Clark family-of-seven decided to enter as a team in the local open basketball competition.

At 41 years, Heidi “didn’t play basketball” and one of her older daughters has poor eyesight which can make catching the ball a challenge.

“My older boys begged me to play with them, but I was unfit and very reluctant. In the end, we formed a team, with our youngest, aged 9, as our coach and sub,” Heidi said.

“My three sons and husband are veterans of the game but at times my older daughter and we felt like we had two left feet.

“To their credit, my family never once got upset when I took a shot and missed by a mile, or when I stood in the wrong position, or needed a sub because I’d run out of stamina.

“They would coach me on the court and tell me where to run and who to mark-up – it was the most fun we’ve had in our sporting history together as a family, and we actually won the grand final that term!”

Sport played a major role in helping to build the family’s physical fitness and stamina, develop resilience and determination and build a strong work ethic. It has always been an important part of the Clark family household.

“From a very young age they would always have a bat and ball in hand or be kicking or dribbling a ball. My sport-loving son used to go to bed with a basketball instead of a teddy!”

“As the kids got older we encouraged them to be involved in sport in a way that suits them. Sport motivates us all in different ways. The older boys enjoy the competition – they play hard. For my 11-year-old, Jakob, it’s about having fun.

“My oldest daughter enjoys the social aspect of sport. My husband and I enjoy the physical fitness. We’ve both had significant mental health challenges over the course of our adult life, and sport has been a great outlet and strength for us.”

The Clark family’s top three tips for families playing sport.

  1. Don’t get discouraged by taking small steps – they are an important foundation.
    “I remember what an effort it was getting five small children to the pool or to basketball or soccer and the struggle it was on some occasions,” said Heidi. “Now I’m grateful that I did as I loved spending that time with my kids. It was worth the effort that you put in.”

  2. Never measure sporting success by winning or losing. Sometimes success is just showing up and getting wet, playing the game, or running the race.
  3. Create enjoyment around your sport events and activities. Life is short, kids grow fast. If you have fun along the way there will be memories and stories to tell for a long time to come.

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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.