The value of Bitcoin and other digital widgets remains a mystery to this sports-minded editor. How an electronic ‘thing’ with no actual, hands-on physicality is worth anything, well, yes – I don’t get it.

Yet were you to show off your collection of Scanlen’s Gum Cards depicting heroes of rugby league from 1981, I would drool like a chocaholic at Willy Wonka’s. Sports memorabilia I get.

Enter a company called SprtsHQ which crosses the streams of both these things and adds a local sports community flourish.

SprtsHQ has created an app which enables grassroots sports folk – players, parents, coaches, mavens of club social media – to create personalised digital sports cards.

It works like this: people upload sporting photos onto the app and place them in ‘Skins’ (like digital picture frames) in the colours of club, state or national body – or one of a variety of colours in the app.

Details, facts and statistics can be added to commemorate sporting moments, memories and milestones. A home run for the Seasiders, a try for the Mermaids, a hole-in-one at Long Reef.

The ‘Card’ is then saved and stored in a ‘Locker’ before being proudly shared on social media.

They look like this:

The concept comes from Northern Beaches dad Craig Green. The Beacon Hill resident is a keen sports lover, with two boys graduates of Narrabeen Sports High School and heavily involved in the local football, skating and surfing scene.

Craig Green, founder of SprtsHQ app, with his son Ashton. Pic: SHQ

“We think it’s a pretty cool concept,”  Green says. “We want to help every sports player – mostly kids but adults too – be the hero of their sports story.

“The best feedback we’ve had is that it’s like being able to create your own trading card, but personalised. It makes the player or athlete the hero,” Green says.

Green had the first germ of an idea several years ago while watching his sons play football and noticing how parents took photos of their kids before posting them on Facebook.

A few years later he was working on a project for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup and met some experts in IT. There followed Covid-19 and opportunity.

“When Covid hit, it seemed like the perfect time to partner up with this fantastic tech team and dive into start-up world, and bring the concept to life.

Craig Green, founder of SprtsHQ app. Pic: SHQ

“It’s been a two-and-a-bit year journey to get where we are today with the app in market and launching to kids and parents,” Green says.

While SHQ’s target market is the grassroots sports player and their families, it’s making waves further up the chain, too.

“We’re still a start-up and finding our feet,” Green says. “But we’re in negotiations with the AFL, FIFA, Rugby Australia, Netball Australia, World Hockey, World Squash, World Pool and the US PGA Tour.

“We’re talking about creating designs and bringing official licensed Skins to market in the app.

“It’s all been really encouraging.”

While the business has gone global, it’s very much a child of the Northern Beaches. Green and his family have lived in these parts for over 20 years. They know how sporty a community it is.

“We’ve had thousands of initial users and a lot come from around here,” Green says. “The feedback has been very positive; locals are right into it.

“It’s why we wanted to partner up with Manly Observer and Beaches Champion – it’s good synergy all round.”

Green adds that he and his developers have tried to keep the app as simple as possible. It’s a visual medium and the concepts are easy to follow. A Skin is the backdrop and frame. Each Card is stored in a Locker which becomes an archive of the athlete’s sporting journey.

(And hey – if little Jonny or Jonica does anything noteworthy on a big stage one day, perhaps their original digital SprtsHQ card will be worth something.)

The SHQ app is free to download and comes with an automatic credit of 500 digital ‘Coins’. Each new card costs 75 coins. New credit can be purchased for .99c (100 coins) or $19.99 (for 3200 coins).

How do you use it? Simple:

  1. Open the app on your phone;
  2. Pick a Skin;
  3. Upload a sporting photo into the Skin;
  4. Add in event details on the front, stats and/or comments on the back – as little or much as you like;
  5. Save the personalised digital sports Card in your personal Locker;
  6. Share on social media;
  7. Bathe in reflected glory.

“IT’S ALL ABOUT GRASSROOTS SPORT, COMMUNITY AND HELPING EVERY PLAYER BE THE HERO OF THEIR SPORTS STORY,” GREEN SAYS.

“Maybe a kid was awarded a medal for player of the match, or mum or dad has a hole-in-one or their junior team wins a competition.

“They’ll create a card in the app which becomes a digital record of the performance in the match, tournament, race.

“It’s about creating memories, milestones – and celebrating them.”

The SHQ app is free to download from the Google and Apple stores and each new user is credited with enough Coins to create four new Cards.

Where to find SHQ

Android:               https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sportshq.sprtshq

iOS:                       https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shq/id1574885635

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/shq.app/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/shqapp

Their website is www.sprtshq.com but will soon have a new site online:  www.shq.app

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