My fondest memories of playing sport as a child revolve around the social side of being involved in teams.
That is not to say I'm not a competitive person, just ask any of my family members who have played Monopoly against me, or my teammates on the Rotorua Daily Post social netball team - I love to win, sometimes too much.
However, I don't remember which football or cricket games I won when I was a kid. What I do remember was that my cousin and I were always in the same team for both. We were best mates growing up and the connection we shared on the sports field will always remain close to my heart.
I don't remember how many goals I scored. What I do remember is playing soccer with my equally sports-mad best friends during the school lunch break, before and after school and at the weekends. Twenty years later, that group of boys, now men, are still my closest friends and it was our shared love of sport as children which brought us together.
The landscape of junior sports in New Zealand, and all over the world, is changing.
The biggest challenge facing Sport New Zealand at present is the steep decline in teenage participation. Their data shows that at 12- 14 years, 96 per cent have been active in the past seven days with the age group on average taking part for 12 hours per week. By the time they reach 18-24 years, only 73% are active each week and the duration has more than halved to 5.5 hours.
Sport New Zealand's strategic plan focuses on recognising that physical activity does not have to be overly competitive and sporting organisations need to provide for both those who enjoy competition and those who just want to have fun.
resulting in the long-standing Roller Mills under-13 tournament coming to an end.
It was a decision that caused plenty of debate - keyboard warriors were frothing at the mouth, chastising the rugby council for what they saw as political correctness gone mad.
Unfortunately, the vocal minority are often the ones less likely to read more than the headline. The NRRC explained that, while the Roller Mills tournament had a glorious history and gave the best under-13 rugby players something to aim for, that was a small percentage of the overall junior rugby population. Their focus is on providing enjoyment for all.
While my own enjoyment as a child stemmed from the enjoyment I got out of participating alongside friends and family, I have plenty of friends who would argue the opposite. Their greatest memories of junior sport would be when they were competing at the highest level.
That's the point I'm trying to make; the greatest challenge facing sporting organisations is the realisation that there is no one solution that will suit everyone.
The key, in my opinion, is that junior participation is under the microscope. National and provincial organisations are attempting to think outside the square and provide enjoyment for all.
Those of us who are involved in sport, or have children involved in sport, should bear with them while they work it out.