Thank you to our community sport volunteers and administrators
The efforts, results, humility and sportsmanship of the athletes at the recent Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were awe inspiring and emotional.
Now that the Games are over; I miss the daily updates, the awesome interviews, the inspiring performances and the uncertainty of what results might come from the amazing efforts of our Olympians and Paralympians. In COVID times when uncertainly is unnerving, it is the uncertainly of sport that makes it so exciting and so uplifting, as a “Bradbury” just may happen at any time!!!
Did I love the action and the interviews because I love sport? Maybe. Did I cry with the athletes when they achieved their dreams or had them shattered, because I love and know sport? Or, is it more that I know of the countless hours that go into such performances from the athletes and the volunteers, administrators and family behind the scenes.
Nelson Mandela’s quote comes to mind: "Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination."
The Olympic and Paralympic Games have shown that sport is more than events and medals – it is the power of sport to bring positive change to people’s lives. I hope that is not only inspiring those of us that are in the system but a new generation of sports lovers and participants. Dylan Alcott was quoted saying, “Paralympics sport saved my life; honestly it did. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I owe it so much.”
Those of us that have been involved in sport have an episode in our sporting life which has rescued us from difficult circumstances. Mine was in the face of moving every couple of years as a child as sport gave me connection and friends in every new environment. I also owe it so much and it is why my only thought for a vocation was sport. Sport is not a job to me; it is my life.
Sport gives you fitness, strength, resilience, friends and coping mechanisms unlike many other endeavours in life. Whether you are a participant or a volunteer. The uncertainty of sport prepares us for challenges like… COVID.
Without the volunteers at the grassroots level, none of the Tokyo performances would have been possible. The system develops the athletes and sport to create the opportunity for events and performances that inspire. It was very heartening to hear all the athletes thank their team and family.
I am writing to thank all the volunteers and community sport administrators that have enabled a healthy sporting system to support elite athletes that can inspire us and encourage the next generation.
Now we will all need to work together to maintain a healthy sport system, to get back to sport safely as soon as possible and support the athletes and weekend warriors of the future.