FOR this city to move forward, we need to put our heads back in the game - back in time, that is.
Ballarat needs a sports museum.
This is the time to really consider how to best support a concept that gathered traction at the end of last year only to fade - like so many plans - as the coronavirus pandemic set in.
But it was the pandemic effects that going us thinking and reflecting on old times.
The Courier's readership figures reinforce popularity in our sports team's flashback features and memorable moments series, generating debate on just how is the region's best footballer to the top basketball moments. History resonates with you.
Sport is all about history.
History books and honour rolls might showcase premierships earned, medals captured and records broken. What brings that all to life is the stories behind it all.
The Courier has stories this weekend alone to pay tribute to a proud Ballarat football historian, puts the call out for a team trying to complete the legacy of a fallen football star and looks at Ballarat Swans' action footage, some of the oldest surviving vision of Australian Rules.
These stories fundamentally stem from people passionate to preserve the rich history that ultimately shapes this city's sporting culture for more than 100 years - or 160 years in Ballarat Swans' case.
Each sporting club across this city has incredibly tales to tell of triumph and glory to bittersweet defeat to athletes who used their voice to stand up for what was right, to make a better game for those who followed them.
Some clubs are better than others in how they keep their stories.
Sporting memorabilia is only part of the play. Like scores and roll calls, it is the legacies of this that can engage and inspire new generations on and off the field.
For a junior basketballer, walking into the new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, to know how Olympians Robyn Gull (Maher) and Ray Borner took their games from this city to international arenas.
For emerging young athletes to hear how one of Ballarat's first Olympians John Vernon was introduced to high jump on the uncut grass at Pleasant Street Primary School, where sporting equipment was sparse.
For cricketers and footballers who play at Eastern Oval to try and picture how almost 30 years ago this was the scene for a World Cup match between England and Sri Lankan with 12,000 fans packed in. More than a century earlier Englishman WG Grace, one of the all-time greatest cricketers, planted a tree that still stands by the grandstand today because he loved the picturesque ground so much. A ground that used to feature a cycling track and a skittle hall.
These are stories that still have ripple effects on how we play today but you might not always realise.
We should want stories like Michelle Payne's 2015 Melbourne Cup win to be more than just an old Hollywood movie in a few decades' time.
Ballarat is loved nationally and internationally for its history. We have a lot to offer in sharing our sporting tales.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.