Home' Aurora : Aurora June 2015 Contents 13
www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine/ Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
No stranger to the sporting field herself,
Helene O’Neill reflects on the power
of sport on the collective Australian
consciousness and how we can overcome
the negative influences.
Spor t – the great Australian pastime.
But what happens when the known
benefits, par ticularly of team spor t,
turn sour? No longer is playing the
game about fitness, fun, friendship
and learning lessons that stick by
you throughout life. With alleged
drug taking, steroid abuse, parental
misbehaviour and player cour t of law
appearances dominating the news,
has playing the game gone beyond an
ac tivity that families can par ticipate in,
watch together and enjoy discussing
around the family dinner table?
Don’t despair, all is not lost ! How
can you, as a parent, coach or family
member, play a role in instilling good
values in children and role model the
expectations that society holds about
spor t as a healthy pursuit that can be
enjoyed by the young and not-so -young
alike? Equally, what are the influences
that are undermining and distor ting
spor t’s ideals and how can they
We all have our own values, beliefs
and attitudes that have shaped our
behaviour throughout the course of our
lives. Family, friends, community and
experiences all contribute to our sense
of self and how we view the world. We
need to be aware of our own personal
values, beliefs, attitudes, principles and
standards, as they guide the way we live
our lives. The decisions we make and
at titudes we display towards coaches,
of ficials, players and spectators are
passed down to our children.
Spor t promotes relationships, as does
our faith. If we parallel our values in
spor t to the gospel values we learn
within our faith there is little chance that
bad behaviour will be a dominant force.
Just how might this work? Gospel values
are those behaviours modelled by Jesus
(perhaps he played for Jerusalem FC),
just as good spor tsmanship is modelled
by those we admire in spor t. These
Reaching out to people – Stop and
take the time to get to know those
in your team. Is there an unmet
need that you can assist with?
Drawing people into respectful
relationships – If there’s a player in
the team who is disrespectful to
opponents, offer to work with the
coach to assist them to play by
Calling people to belong – The idea
of a team sport is to learn to care,
share and work together. Invite new
team members to embrace the club
culture and share the team spirit.
Do the right thing – Even when
a decision goes against what you
believe to be right, accept that
the official is doing their job in the
interest of the game.
Love one another – A spor ting
season can last up to eight months,
star ting with pre-season, through
to the gr and final, making it a
ver y enjoyable period if members
of the team have a harmonious
Values can influence many of the
judgments made on the field and
therefore impact on player behaviour.
Let’s look at some values that are
per tinent to spor t:
Manners – Are they old fashioned?
Do they hold a high or low value
in your life? Remember to always
shake the hand of the opposing
team members, regardless of the
Pride – Are there things you need
to be proud of? Do you value pride
or do you value humility? Winners
may be grinners, but have you
made the non winners feel special,
regardless of their defeat?
Appearance – How impor tant is it
to be identified by a team uniform ?
Be sure to wear the team colours
with pride, especially if you are a fan.
Behaviour on the sports field –
What behaviours do you value?
Spor tsmanship? Winning? Team
spirit? Individual glor y? As par t of
our faith life we value pastoral care.
Ensure this is evident in the
Family life – What do you value
about family life? How can this
be perpetuated to your team
Loyalty – Stick with the team and
player s and look for ways to grow
There are also dominant values that are
widely shared amongst a playing group,
Enjoying sport and all its attendant benefits – fitness, fun, friendship and teamwork.
KEEPING THE GREAT
AUSTRALIAN PASTIME GREAT
community or culture. Some of those values
could be :
Family – Caring for each other, family
comes first; the team could become your
Peers – The impor tance of friendship, of
doing things that your peers approve of ;
ensure that the integrity of the playing
group is paramount.
Playing ground – Doing your job properly
whether player or administrator.
What are our strengths and how can we
ensure that spor t can thrive and nourish our
society? Equally, what are the influences that
are under mining and distor ting spor t’s ideals?
Whilst the lessons learnt from par ticipating
in spor t include the value of team work,
experiencing the high of winning, acceptance
of losing and forging friendships, there is
also a dark side. The use of drugs, cheating,
gambling, violence, parental misbehaviour
and domestic abuse rear their ugly head
amongst players and spectators. We need to
ask ourselves "Why are we doing what we
are we doing – are our actions within the
code of conduct? " We need to identify the
consequences of our actions for ourselves
and others, for example, will appearing in
front of a judiciar y and ser ving a suspension
leave the team with depleted playing ranks?
We should always consider others and better
options if necessar y.
It is impor tant to not only have an
understanding of your value system, but to
appreciate that your values underpin your
beliefs, which in turn affect your behaviour.
A strong sense of social justice is alive in our
community. Just as we strive for gold on the
spor ting field so, too, do we strive to mirror
and celebrate the many blessings that spor t
offers us into all facets of our life.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice
Statement for 2014–2015 has a distinct
spor ting flavour, titled ‘A Crown for Australia:
Striving for the best in our spor ting nation’.
The statement is a challenge to each of us to
look at the place of spor t in our lives.
To listen to Helene O’Neill discuss the
statement with Bishop Bill Wright visit
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