The Academy offers the services of a non-denominational Sports Chaplain through the support of Sports Chaplaincy Australia.
Sports Chaplaincy Australia (SCA) services are provided to the Academy through a local Chaplain. This is a quality opportunity to support the needs of our aspiring athletes, their families and coaching and support staff members; when they just need someone to talk to, or have a problem needing greater support.
Our Sports Chaplains are enthusiastic and active supporters of the Academy and someone all athletes should seek-out and talk to, when they visit our Academy training sessions and events.
Rev. Jim Dayhew, SWSAS Chaplain
As a young guy, I thought that life was sport and sport was life. I loved my Rugby League, Cricket and Golf, and was immersed in these during my youth and young adult years. Now, as a middle aged very retired sportsperson, I know there is a lot more to life! I am very excited to start as Chaplain of the South West Academy of Sport, supporting the wholistic growth and development of the region's emerging athletes.
As a competitor and youth sports coach, I have learned that sport is a unique microcosm of life. It both reflects life and shapes it. It shapes character and reveals character. It seems our national obsession with winning can reduce the unique opportunity of sport to help young people grow as not just athletes, but as citizens.
A chaplain has the privileged position of being a friendly, approachable presence who can support and speak into important issues beyond the physical aspects of sport: the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. As adults might have their sense of self formed by their job, prestige and success can become identity shaping for many in the world of sport. But this is an unreliable basis for deep fulfilment in life.
Society has matured to the point where we can discuss far more openly our mental health challenges. Young Australian cricketer Will Pucovski has spoken openly about his mental health issues. At the highest level, sports organisations increasingly understand that wellbeing support for athletes is vital. The whole Covid experience is affecting people in various ways. For our Academy athletes, attention to such issues as motivation, emotions, relationships, self-esteem, mental health, character, values, purpose, significance and identity help them grow as sportspeople, but more importantly, thriving members of society.
As SWSAS Chaplain, I look forward to meeting the Academy's athletes for 2021. I also look forward to connecting with coaches and parents / carers, supporting them in their important roles. I will attend training and special events on a regular basis, and be available for a chat, pastoral care, spiritual support and crisis intervention and as required.
Serving as a sports chaplain is a practical, relevant expression of the local church in the community. Sports Chaplaincy Australia supports hundreds of chaplains in elite and community level clubs across Australia and I am thrilled to connect with the South West Sydney Academy of Sport.