Into Sport

Into Sport

Thursday, 19 April 2018  | Emma - SS Coordinator

I love sport. I love playing it, watching it, reading about it, learning it and teaching it. While I am aware that sport is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is hard to ignore the innate attraction and compelling spectacle of high level sport.

In recent weeks, many of us would have tuned in to the Commonwealth Games. We have journeyed the highs and lows with our athletes, celebrating with them in their achievements and commiserating with their disappointments. It always amazes me how international sporting competitions such as the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and World Cups have the capacity to bring together in a peaceful and respectful manner, at least for a short period of time, vastly disparate cultures and warring nations. 

Sport can be a fantastic unifying construct that builds community, overcomes barriers and enables freedom of expression and the joy of movement. In many ways we are created to move and to delight in the capacity of the human body to perform impressive and awe-inspiring feats. 

However, over-competitiveness, greed, prejudice and negligence can distort the good and playful nature of movement and sport as God designed. 

No doubt most of us have heard and been shocked by the recent ball tampering scandal that has rocked the Australian Cricket Team, or been disturbed by footage of Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins lying unaided after collapsing in the Commonwealth Games, or the now infamous AFL doping saga. With large international competitions one struggles to be reconciled with the financial investment of millions of dollars, the impact on citizens (usually those already most disadvantaged) and the dubious nature of whether these events are actually the fair and even playing field they proclaim to be. 

As such issues arise that spark conflict and debate, I reflect on both the joyous potential of sport as well as the impacts of sin. As a Christian school I feel it is important that we identify and challenge these distortions, yet at the same time not lose sight of the beauty, joy and possibilities of sport. 

In the Transformational Education book, it states that ‘learning for appreciation focuses on the enjoyment of creation and valuing the diverse riches of the experienced world as God’s gift… Appreciation means that the world is not primarily seen as a commodity to use, but as a gift in which to revel and luxuriate to the glory of God’ (P. 148), and furthermore that ‘God’s creation consists of diversity in unity. God delights in variety and differences.’ P. 43

For the secondary school in the next two weeks, we are jumping straight into the athletics and cross-country sports carnivals. These are great days of developing community, fun, physical activity and appreciation of the sporting gifts and abilities many students have. A highlight of the year for me is always the staff-student 4x100m relay race. Later in the year we have interschool Futsal, netball, AFL, the Worawa Aboriginal College Reconciliation Sports Carnival and more. I would like to encourage our students as we embark on these activities, to take the time to marvel at the amazing way God has creatively designed our bodies for movement, and to be active participants in challenging the unhelpful and at times idolatrous distortions of sport. 

A quote that has stuck with me since the first time I watched the somewhat iconic film Chariots of Fire is: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure”. Eric Liddell (Scottish Olympic Gold Medalist runner, 1924, and Christian missionary).

It is my hope that as we enjoy sport in all its various forms this year, be that at school or beyond, that we might be conscious of feeling God’s delight in us as we play, move and run. 


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