ko te manaaki i ngā kaihākinakina | caring for New Zealand's sports community
Welcome to the Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand blog - picture of sports team in a huddle

Living your sporting dream

Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to the Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand blog

For many young people in New Zealand, to represent their country at sport is their ultimate dream. It certainly was for me. Sport first captured me during the 1982 FIFA World Cup, the first time New Zealand qualified. With the rest of my family I got up early to watch the games on our black and white TV, wrote the results into my little Ladybird World Cup guidebook, and then replayed the action after school in the park across the road. I imagined John Adshead (All Whites’ manager) wandering through our local park one day, noticing my skill, and immediately drafting me into the team, despite the fact that I was only ten years old and the wrong sex.

A bit over a year later, it was the World Series Cricket from Australia that caught my attention, and I took up that sport. Although I managed a high score of 4 not out in club cricket, didn’t bowl or keep wickets and couldn’t throw, for many years I held on to my dream of playing for New Zealand.

To me, to represent New Zealand would mean that I had made it. I would be famous and popular. Everyone would like and admire me. I would meet lots of wonderful people and we would all get on really well. I would travel to interesting places. Because I loved sport so much it would never feel like hard work. I could make lots of money, and when it was all over I could bask in the glory of it all for the rest of my life.


Are you living the dream?

If you are an elite sportsperson, I’m sure your life is just like this😊. Or maybe you’ve found it somewhat less than this ideal. Maybe you’re not earning heaps of money, or if you are maybe it’s not providing the happiness and security you thought it would. Perhaps you’ve had to deal with some pretty difficult people along the way; maybe they are your coaches and teammates. Perhaps you’ve had to cope with injury, or you’ve come up against injustice in sport. Maybe you struggle to deal with criticism. Perhaps your relationships outside of sport have suffered and you feel like you are missing out on stuff. Maybe you feel disappointed and unmotivated, but can’t understand why, when you are meant to be living the dream.

If you haven’t yet made the elite level, but still dream of getting there, then you know it’s not as easy as just being spotted playing around in your local park, as I once imagined. It is hard work. Sacrifice. Difficult decisions. Time. Money. You may wonder, will I ever make it? When you do, will it be worth it?


Who are we?

Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand exists for you, the serious athlete, whatever stage you are at in your career. A Sports Chaplain is a neutral, understanding, supportive presence to walk beside you throughout your sports career, and even after your sports career. Sports Chaplains care more than just about your sporting performance. We know that you are more than just a sportsperson or celebrity, and that for you to have a successful career and life, all areas of your life need to be cared for.


What is the Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand blog?

The Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand blog will be tackling issues of life that are particularly relevant to competitive sportspeople, which we think will support you in become a more balanced and successful person, and as a result a better player. We will talk about sports-related issues that are prominent in the media. We will introduce some of our Sports Chaplains to you, so you can understand their work better. And we will examine successful athletes and teams to see what we can learn from them.

We believe better people make better athletes. The Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand blog is about helping make better people. We follow the teaching and values of one widely considered to be the best person who ever lived, Jesus of Nazareth. His life and teaching was founded on love, mercy and grace. Even if you don’t follow Jesus yourself, we think you will find his principles for living compelling.

One last thing: Sports Chaplains are not doctors, psychologists or professional counsellors. We are support people, and we don’t claim to be able to give advice at this kind of professional level. However, we do promise that what we write here will be well-researched and from reputable sources.


Talk to us

Feel free to contact us in confidence.


Find out more about Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand.


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We’d love to get to know you! What are your dreams as a sportsperson? What do you find the hardest?

Author Info

Rebecca Hawkins

Rebecca is the Communications and IT Manager for Sports Chaplaincy NZ. In her younger days she played cricket and football with great enthusiasm but very little skill. Now she spends a lot of time supporting her four sons in their sport. She especially loves scoring their cricket matches, which she insists on doing the old fashioned way, with pen and paper.

Comments ( 2 )

  • Jacqui

    Nice work on creating a blog Rebecca. blog that is a rliving ecord of the journey. And even though we may never ‘arrive’ and represent our country, sport can make us a much better person. Sports people have good routines of training in place, build better resilience persevering through and strive towards a goal even if it is a PB. We’re better people for it. The sports arena is a living learning space like no other and so happy with the growing number of chaplains in our nation’s teams. And yes, w do need some more girls on board !

    • Rebecca Hawkins

      Thanks Jacqui. You’re right, there are many things I gained from playing sport even though I never achieved what I dreamed of. For a start there’s the brilliant people I met. Also, learning about teamwork; growing in courage and confidence; and opportunities to be involved more widely in the sport such as learning to umpire and score cricket, and writing newspaper reports. We encourage athletes to see this bigger picture in their sport. We love to win and be the best at our sport, but it’s not all about winning; actually it’s impossible for everybody to always win. The great thing is that sport is so much more than this, and has so much more to offer us.

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