I'm a firm believer that history and tradition is something worth preserving, not to be forgotten.
It should be something we take pride in, documenting the roots of your family, town or country whether it be good or bad, honourable or shameful.
After covering the past, present and future of Whangārei's Jubilee Park for the better part of a month now, I've come to understand how central the park is to people's memory of the city, particularly in the rugby league community, and how ashamed and disheartened they are to see it a shadow of what it once was.
You see it etched on their faces, the pain in their voice as they retrieve the memories of the ground's roaring atmosphere, a bank packed with supporters and players scrapping it out on the boggy terrain.
You hear a flicker of nostalgia and warmth emerge in their voice as their mind's eye is consumed by scenes of days gone by.
As a relative newcomer to the north, the depth of my feelings towards the park pale in comparison to the people who have dedicated their lives to Northland rugby league. However, much of what I feel echoes their thoughts, particularly how it reflects poorly on not only the state of rugby league, but of Whangārei as a whole.
There are a number of reasons why Jubilee fell into such disrepair and they will be discussed in the Northern Advocate in the coming days. But after so many years of disuse, I find it hard to believe the signs were not obvious to see even 10 years ago that the park was heading down this path.
Rubbish lies everywhere amongst the overgrown grass between burnt out buildings and ruined advertising hoardings. People now live in the grandstand and if I'm honest, I don't blame them.
If I wanted a place to myself out of the wind and rain, Jubilee Park is an ideal candidate. The concerns of nearby schools and businesses is fair from a health and safety point of view, but the responsibility lies with the owners (Whangārei City and Districts Rugby League Incorporated) if they want to see the grandstand vacated.
At the end of the day, it's just depressing for all those involved. It depresses the people who live there, the people who remember its heyday and the people who want to see Whangārei without such a stain present in their community.
Undefeated Northern Swords eye promotion
A large part of the Jubilee Park discussion has obviously been about the progression of rugby league and the effect decreasing funds and competition decline has had on the ground.
The park offers a dire warning to those of us in the rugby league community in Northland that this is what can happen if problems are left unattended and ignored.
This year's Northland premier rugby league competition wasn't without its issues as teams were consistently low on players and no team looked anywhere near Takahiwai, who ended up winning the title against the Otangarei Knights.
Understandably, there are a number of factors which inhibit the growth of rugby league and a lack of funds is chief among them. Regional rugby league organisations receive little support from their national body, evidenced by the fact that Northland's top men's team, the Northern Swords, had to drive all the way to Wellington to compete in their North Island competition.
At a club level, league suffers from the dominance of rugby union in the north as players are forced to choose between the two with their seasons played at the same time.
For me, it doesn't make sense to run them together and it will only make progress in restricting the true growth of both codes, but with the logistics of a ever-increasing sporting calendar, I'm not surprised change has not come.
Northland's rugby league scene is also tainted by the clear division between the clubs in Whangārei and those in the Mid and Far North, which play in the TaiTokerau Rugby League competition, headed by Hone Harawira.
There's too much history to examine all the effects of this split but what it does do on a basic level is divide resources, whether they be financial or player numbers.
I know a lot of the older generation, the ones who enjoyed a time when rugby league thrived, are either saddened or incensed by the state of the game today. They accuse the younger generation of watching their clubs struggle as more and more people pull out of clubs' essential volunteer duties.
We can't deny that club sport culture has changed, some of it for the better, some of it for the worse. No one in their right mind would say the game has been safer than it is now, but the family atmosphere of local sports clubs seems to be on the decline.
What we do know for certain is Northland rugby league must not go the same way as Jubilee Park - sad, old and forgotten.
There are too many people in the north who treasure rugby league as a way of life, more than just a simple Saturday pastime.
Perhaps it requires a bit more commitment from my millennial generation and maybe some of the older heads need to stop grumbling under their breath and give those of us without the history and the knowledge, a little direction.
Because if we try to move forward without being informed by our past, we are left with a shadow of what was once a proud sporting culture in Northland.