Home' Aurora : Aurora September 2014 Contents 19
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Regular writer and local sporting guru
Helene O'Neill flags the Australian Bishops'
2014 Social Justice Statement.
We've enjoyed the Glasgow
Commonwealth Games, Tour de Fr ance,
Wimbledon Grand Slam and the Football
World Cup and that's only in June and
July! As HG Nelson declared, "Too much
spor t is never enough ! "
Even the Australian Catholic Bishops
Social Justice Statement for 2014-2015
has taken on a spor ting flavour. "A
Crown for Austr alia : Striving for the best
in our spor ting nation" is the title of a
challenge issued by the bishops to look
at the place of spor t in our lives. What
are its strengths and how can we ensure
that spor t can thrive, and in retur n,
nourish our society? Equally, what are
the influences that are under mining and
distor ting spor t's ideals?
Whilst the lessons lear nt from
par ticipating in spor t include the value
of team work, experiencing the highs
of winning, acceptance of losing and
forging friendships , there is also a dark
side. Drugs , cheating, gambling, violence,
parental 'bad behaviour ' and domestic
abuse rear their ugly heads
Can the pur suit of physical fitness
and good health also be the vehicle
to promote harmony and suppor t
reconciliation ? Ther e is no doubt that
Australians are passionate about their
spor t. Where else in the world would
a horse race stop the nation? Such an
event allows people to come together to
enjoy the culmination of months, even
years, of training and preparation -- but
then there's the aspect of gambling and
its many associated costs to society,
par ticularly families.
As our lifestyles become mor e and
more sedentary, many people live their
lives vicariously through their spor ting
heroes . They become spectator s
instead of par ticipants, and this can bring
disillusionment instead of a sense
If spor t is deemed a microcosm of society,
should we accept the violence we see on
the field as any different from that on the
str eets? Should the use of per for mance-
enhancing dr ugs by athletes be treated
any differently from the abuse of dr ugs
and alcohol by individuals? Is betting on
your favourite team a contributor to a
gambling addiction many develop, despite
being advised to gamble responsibly?
Spor ting events such a s Close the Gap
and the Indigenous All Stars rounds in
r ugby league help to unite a community,
overcome differences and promote
reconciliation. They create a sense of
wor th in those communities affected
by r acism and raise hopes for a brighter,
more harmonious future.
Perhaps the jewel in spor t's crown is
the engagement of volunteer s. Local
community member s freely give of their
time and talents to ensure the smooth
r unning of an association or event. They
r ange in age from kids at a school car nival
through to timekeeper s or canteen
worker s at the Master s Games. The
Inter national Children's Games at Lake
Macquarie in December will provide a
fur ther oppor tunity.
It's always impor tant that volunteer s are
thanked and recognised for their effor ts.
Communities respond well to this vital
role and each year an Inter national
Volunteer Day recognises the generous
contributions people make to
But the tide is tur ning. In our fast-paced
society many spor ting groups face a
shor tage of people willing to assist others.
People consider themselves 'time poor ',
but can this sometimes mean they can't
be bother ed ? No time to wash the footy
jumper s, do a shift in the canteen or even
coach their child's team?
A mar vellous exception to this scenario
was the groundswell of suppor t the
volunteer ar my provided at the 2013
Special Olympics held in Newcastle. The
games wer e the talk of the town. The
athletes were lauded and the community
rallied as one. Per for mances weren't the
measure of success. Ability -- not disability
-- was the winner.
We witness a similar outpouring
of goodwill when a family loses its
possessions in a fire or a community is
deva stated by flood. The r ecent "Rise
for Alex" NRL round galvanised not only
the spor ting world, but all areas of the
community. So does that mean we as
Austr alians look af ter our mate in time
A strong sense of social justice is alive
in our community. Just as we strive for
gold on the spor ting field, the Austr alian
Catholic Bishops challenge us to mirror
and celebr ate the many blessings that
spor t offers us in all facets of our lives.
To learn more please visit w w w.
at the International Children's Games,
go to http://icg-lakemacquarie2014.com.
Feel and be valued. Break isolation.Be a part of something positive. Do what you
are passionate about. Network. Learn New Skills. Build self confidence. Demonstrate
what you can
Be a part
positive. Do what you are passionate about. Network. Learn New Skills.
Build self confidence. Demonstrate what you can do. Help others in need.
We have 170+ volunteer roles available
and our pledge is to find the one that suits you
Call 4929 4424 or visit hvc.org.au
HVC recruits volunteers for more than 200 community organisations throughout the Hunter.
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