THIS promise we appreciate Melbourne Renegades could keep.
While nothing-is-locked-in has become a mantra for Victorian sport the past two years, the Renegades persisted in sticking to a two-day Women's Big Bash League hit-out set for Eastern Oval in November.
And they did his amid a fixture re-shuffle just as Ballarat, as a city, was plunged back into a hard lockdown.
It could have been easier to politely shuffle north or far-west somewhere in the nation, like the whole competition did last year amid the ongoing COVID state of flux.
The Renegades have made clear Ballarat is all-Red territory, a home base, and this was a big Reds' signal the club is staying true to its word - at least as much as the Reds' can in a pandemic.
As a city, we should be champing at the bit to have the Reds back in action.
Ballarat has been lucky to squeeze in some AFL and A-League fixtures this year while our own marquee sporting clubs and community competition have had stop-start seasons.
Fixtures like WBBL on our turf are invaluable.
Even though we have had little tastes of elite sport in the past year, this is something we have still been sorely missing as a chance to show off our region and our sporting culture.
And even though we have had little tastes of elite competition, barely any of us have had the chance to experience it due to restricted or barred crowds.
IN OTHER NEWS
To know the Renedages have kept Ballarat in their line-up coincides with Ballarat Bolts women's cricket announcing a strong youth contingent to defend their crown in the Barwon Women's Cricket Competition.
Bolts coach Emily McNeight told The Courier there was a strong band of girls in the game and staying in the game. McNeight said this could set the club in good stead to, hopefully, look to premier competition in a bid to help keep top talent playing in Ballarat and helping to develop talent in Ballarat.
To see some of the world's best players in action on Eastern Oval can only help to boost this - especially knowing Renegade Georgia Wareham launched her game in Mortlake. Wareham, alongside Renegades captain Sophie Molineux, boast Twenty20 international experience to her name.
Before the pandemic women's sport was booming and the world cup final at the MCG, on the eve of the state's first lockdown, was a huge celebration of this.
To have the Renegades' WBBL squad can only help to reignite girls sport in western Victoria.
AFL can play a similar role, for male and female sport, by playing in our backyard and making the elite ranks more accessible to more people.
Mars Stadium could be welcoming an AFL premier back on to its deck next season.
Tenant Western Bulldogs played Ballarat's historic first AFL game for premiership points on Mars in August 2017, stepping out as reigning title holder.
Imagine what welcoming a AFL premiership club could do for Ballarat, as we continue to claw out of COVID, next season.
Good luck to the 'Dogs in the AFL Grand Final next Friday night.
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