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