In an earlier post, Why sportspeople need to connect with others, why it’s hard, and what you can do about it, I mentioned Jesse Sene-Lefao’s ‘Iron Squad’, a safe place for sportspeople to connect in Yorkshire, England. Recently, I chatted with Sports Chaplain James Poliko, who is running a similar group in Auckland, 4:13 Athletes NZ.
4:13 Athletes NZ meets on the first Friday of every month, to talk about issues athletes face. Most recently they ran a panel discussion on sex and relationships.
The group began in mid-2016, meeting in Poliko’s house but soon outgrew that space as athletes brought teammates along. Now they meet at Poliko’s church, C3 Church in Ellerslie. Despite this he insists, ‘I don’t want it to be a church service, and it is open to absolutely anybody.’
From 4:13 Athletes Facebook page
Whether you believe, used to believe or don’t belive in God
Whether you’re male or female
Whether you’re Straight, Gay or Transgender
If you’re an athlete – You’re welcome here
You’re a son or daughter of the King
This group is created to assist your faith walk
The revelations of how to live your life, God will reveal to you personally – Our job is to walk with you
Iron sharpens iron (4:13 Athletes is all about empowering Christians and non Christians who are excelling in professional sport or are up and coming/talented to go out to the field, court or arena encouraged to perform for an audience of one – The one who matters the most.)
‘4:13’ comes from a verse from the Bible: ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’
Assisting Poliko with 4:13 Athletes NZ are former Auckland Blues manager Bryce Anderson, and Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Jon Bilger. Players from the Auckland Blues, Warriors Under 20s, All Whites and Black Ferns are regular attenders, along with cyclists and kick boxers. More recently actors and singers have also begun attending.