In September I served as Sports Chaplain in a girl’s high school hockey tournament. The following is a summary of my week as a hockey tournament chaplain:
I attended the Referees and Managers’ Meeting. The Tournament Director introduced me, while I briefly explained Sports Chaplaincy and my role as hockey tournament chaplain.
I observed a team who looked very low. Following two losses, the girls were very quiet with their heads down. Their supporters also appeared frustrated and low. I talked briefly with some of the supporters. They explained that the team had just been promoted to this tier and so they were finding it tough.
Following this, I talked with one of the referees who was officiating her first game in some time. She had been feeling nervous about it. After the game we spoke; she felt good and it was good to debrief with her and encourage her.
The manager of one of the teams approached me and asked me to speak with his team, to explain my role to them and to be available for one-on-one chats if the girls needed it. This was because of a significant incident that had occurred within the team on Monday. We arranged for me to meet with his team the next day at their motel.
I met with the team at their motel, the manager introduced me to the team and I explained my role, spoke briefly about the incident that had happened within their team and talked about the importance of talking through it and not letting it dominate their week.
At the turf, I made a point of watching the warm up of the team who were noticeably low on Monday, making myself available to engage with any players or management who would like to. The coach approached me and we talked through how the girls were doing and how the morale of the team was.
I couldn’t come to the turf so I let the Tournament Director know. I asked her to ring or text me if there was a specific need I could help with, and told them I would do my best to attend.
I watched the finals, talking mainly with supporters and referees. I spoke with a player after her game, who had had a disappointing tournament and wanted to talk through her frustrations.
Summary of my week as a hockey tournament chaplain
Overall, I received a positive reaction from all who I spoke with during the tournament. I spoke with many supporters on sidelines who expressed interest in Sports Chaplaincy and my role at the tournament, and responded warmly to me. I believe Sports Chaplaincy was accepted and viewed positively by many at the tournament and I was able to actively engage with several individuals in a way that I would hope was beneficial to them.
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