08 Oct 2020

You might think that Alan Dengate, affectionately known as ‘Dingo’, is living the dream.

Dingo has captained the Tasmanian ID (intellectually disabled) cricket team at the National Cricket Inclusion Championship (NCIC) for four years running and has won himself and his team multiple trophies and awards. As well as achieving many personal goals, such as interviewing Australian Cricket Captain Tim Paine and running marathons!

But when you scratch below the surface, you find that Dingo’s cricketing journey has not been an easy one, and certainly he could never have achieved his current status without some help along the journey. He’s the first to admit that without the Taverners’ support at crucial times, playing his favourite sport would have been much harder and the opportunities he’s embraced would never have come his way.

“To focus on Dingo’s intellectual disability or suggest he’s not an
‘equal’ to other inspiring athletes
or community leaders would be
misleading and unfair.” 

It is hard to imagine a more pleasant, more rational, upbeat and focused caring man. Along with his cricketing brain and team leadership skills, he effectively piloted the underdog Tasmanian team to the semi-finals of the NCIC last year. And we have no doubt more success will come!

There are many people like Dingo in Australia. They have dreams, aspirations, skills, common sense abound and a tremendous amount to offer our society. We can all learn from Dingo’s optimism and drive – and his commitment to helping younger disadvantaged kids realise their passion to play a sport they love.

“But they need our help and support in educating and accepting their inclusion, because although many play for mainstream sporting clubs, they often suffer bullying and exclusion.”

The opportunities that organisations like Taverners raise funds to create and sustain are critical in leading the way. That said, the inclusion movement and benefits are being recognised more and more in our local Clubs and across the sporting landscape. It’s a cause you can join with us in driving visibility and lasting change.

The National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) is the culmination of the cricketing year for sportsmen and women like Dingo. At this multi-day celebration of cricket and the achievements of people battling against the odds life has thrown them, Dingo and his team-mates really get to shine. Here they are fully accepted by all and are no longer the odd one out, or the butt of well-meaning but insensitive team-mates’ jokes. They pit their wits and skills against each other, share stories and get to feel part of a great and caring community – something most of us take for granted.

High-profile cricketing heroes like Nathan Lyon support the all-abilities event and are blown away by the passion and talent on show. And Dingo describes Tim Paigne as one of the nicest people you could meet and remembers his interview with him as a highlight of his career. There are other cricketing greats he takes inspiration from and one of his heroes is Justin Langer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Dingo and his contemporaries could meet some of these players whose cricketing careers they have avidly followed?

“Whereas COVID-19 has affected all Australians in one way or another with lock-downs and the cancellation of events, it’s had a disproportionately unfair effect on disadvantaged young people, particularly those with intellectual or physical disabilities.”

For these people, being shut in their homes and unable to socialise has been particularly hard. Sometimes just being able to get out and play a sport they love, is essential for maintaining wellbeing and retaining hope and optimism.

There are understandably question marks over what form the NCIC will take this summer and it may be a different affair than previous years. But it’s uplifting effect on people like Dingo is unquestionable. Taverners is absolutely committed to ensuring it goes ahead and provides the maximum possible funding for these unrecognised cricketing legends.

However, given all the disruption COVID-19 has brought, Taverners’ usual channels of fundraising for the event have been drastically reduced or cut. So Inclusive Creatives has proudly helped in the set-up and delivery of a digital national raffle to support the hundreds of passionate young cricketers like Dingo realise their dreams and get to the NCIC.

“We all know a Dingo and its vital that as a society we pull together to provide the Dingo’s of the world opportunities to realise their potential.” 

An event like the NCIC takes a great deal of organisation and associated costs are greater than any mainstream team cricket carnival. The more we can raise, the better the experience will be for the players and our communities benefits in so many ways as a result too.

If you’re not already convinced, please watch the video of Dingo being interviewed and telling us about his experiences here. Then you might like to visit the raffle promotion page on the Taverners website and in turn buy a ticket on the RaffleTix page to help Taverners stage and grow the NCIC.

Inclusive Creatives would like to thank Dingo for his passionate contribution to the fundraising campaign and Taverners Australia for the chance to implement an innovative, highly accessible and deeply meaningful fundraising initiative.

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