ArchiSoccer Cup
News Report

Getting back to the basics of ArchiSoccer

Author: Adrian Doohan, 14/11/18

  • DesignInc ArchiSoccer team in Fawkner Park 2003
  • ArchiSoccer being played in Fawkner Park 2003

Where has ArchiSoccer come from and where is it going?

This year in the off-season I found myself asking what is ArchiSoccer really about? I reminisced about the early days when we played in Fawkner Park when it was jumpers on the ground as goal posts. We had no team colours, no permits, no insurance, no equipment, no facilities, no fixtures and no worries. I can remember having to keep a lookout for park rangers and then running off as organised ball sports were not allowed without a permit. It was a common occurrence in those days.

But we didn’t care, it was worth the risk. To be in the park of a weekday evening, sun shining, kicking a ball and hanging out with your work colleagues. Getting to know them beyond the office walls and projects that we shared, and instead sharing a beer post game. We’d pop down to the Max Hotel on the south side of Fawkner Park and take over the outdoor area. We’d dissect the game with the opposition and mingle with the other teams to share stories of our wins, losses and near misses.

Even back then I knew we were part of something special. I had worked in many other cities and there was nothing that I could compare it to, especially for the architecture industry. An industry that often works long hours in stressful environments in pursuit of great built outcomes. Office culture and staff wellbeing was often not a cause for concern.

ArchiSoccer was a release valve for all of that. And in turn it helped build a robust office culture and lifetime friendships. For many, the kick in the park was one of the highlights of the week. The whole office would get behind it and ask how we got on the previous night, who we played, who scored, etc.

Inevitably the more offices that learned about this ArchiSoccer thing the more that wanted to be involved. It was a fete accompli that ArchiSoccer would need to change and evolve, but could it do so without losing the essence of what it was?

As the competition grew we needed permits to play. As we needed permits we needed insurance. To help reduce disagreements of whether a shot was on target or not we brought in goals and witches hats. We had to schedule fixtures to ensure we didn’t have more teams tuning up to play than we had grounds available. We had to introduce rules as a common understanding of the nuances of our game.
So, where did all that leave ArchiSoccer? Were we achieving what we set out to do all those years ago or had it been lost though all the rules and regulations? It has been a constant struggle through the changes to preserve what we thought were important to the organisation and its participants. Were the values that we held within reflective of the wider cohort or were we simply clinging to our own nostalgic memories of yesteryear? Is everyone on the same page? 

We felt it was time to ask the wider ArchiSoccer community on their thoughts, did they agree? The level of response to our Player Survey was overwhelming, and we thank everyone for taking the time to give us honest and robust feedback.
One question that I was quite interested to hear the response to was: How much do you agree with the following statement? "ArchiSoccer teams play with good sportsmanship" 

Of the 136 survey respondents, 78% agreed or strongly agreed that ArchiSoccer teams play with good sportsmanship. 19% were neutral and neither agreed or disagreed. While 3% disagreed.

However, a compelling 1 in 6 people commented that some teams and individuals were overly competitive or aggressive.

One individual commented “...I love the idea of the league and enjoying the company of my colleagues in a social and active setting but I have found that I don't enjoy the experience because of those teams who go overboard in their competitive enthusiasm which often spills into aggression. When you come across another team that puts having fun before winning, the experience is brilliant and great for our industry.”

It appears that most players understand our game and treasure what we have collectively created. However, it also appears there are a handful of players that suffer from white line fever, that put winning above sportsmanship, above respect for others, and most of all above enjoyment of the game. 

Whilst the number of offenders is small their impact on our social league is large. We need to collectively hold these individuals to account such that the integrity of what most of us cherish lives long into the future. A future that puts participation above winning, that puts enjoyment above scoring, that puts inclusion above aggression.

We are extremely proud of what we have shaped, but we also recognise that ArchiSoccer is so much bigger than us, bigger than we ever imagined. Whilst we can influence the culture we certainly can’t dictate it. Culture is a learned behaviour that is modelled by your captain, by your colleagues and by your opponents, it is not a set of rules. As we continue to grow it is ever more important to reconnect with that enjoyment of being in the park of a weekday evening, sun shining, kicking a ball, hanging out and sharing a beer with your work colleagues. Every now and then you may also get to celebrate a win!

Full Player Survey responses will be made available in the coming weeks.

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