Reclink returns for another footy frenzy

The Anchors and Rockatoos celebrate after the 2017 Reclink Community Cup (Image Source: Dave Court)

By Jesse Neill and Oliver Brown | @JesseNeill2, @opsbrown_

Adelaide’s top musicians The Rockatoos and media personalities The Anchors will face off in the fifth annual Reclink Community Cup at Norwood Oval this Sunday afternoon.

The charity football match will raise funds for Reclink Australia, which supports sport and art programs for disadvantaged communities across Australia.

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Footy for a good cause: The Rockatoos and Anchors battle it out in the 2017 Reclink Cup (Image Source: Dave Court)

Reclink Australia creates evidence-based sport and art programs that promote socially inclusive, life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged Australians.

Reclink State Manager Andy Asser said the funds raised during the Community Cup—which totalled more than $20,000 last year—support some of its most popular activities which help to improve health, education and employment outcomes for all participants.

“The funds we receive from the Community Cup help us achieve important goals and provide the necessary resources to help at-risk young people,” Mr Asser said.

“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and coming along to participate or spectate goes a long way in helping us.”

For many, Reclink Australia offers a new start in life, and some even decide to return the favour.

Symone Robertson, Reclink’s Outdoor Sports and Recreation Coordinator, said she had early struggles with addiction, but her introduction to Reclink and their programs in 2012 turned her life around.

“It was actually when I was in rehab for addiction that I discovered Reclink…my first program I went to was surfing actually,” Ms Robertson said.

“I had a ball of fun.

“I fell off the board quite a few times but it was great…and I kind of fell in love with Reclink right there and then.”

Over the next couple of years, Ms Robertson, 32, participated in various activities with the charity, and occasionally volunteered her time to assist with programs in Mount Barker.

At the same time, she slowly got her life back on track, even going back to school; and when a part-time position opened up at Reclink, she jumped at the chance.

Almost two years on, Ms Robertson—now heavily involved in organising the activities she participated in not that long ago—said her own experiences help her bond with new participants.

“I mean, there’s all [kinds of] different people…from where they come from, different issues or concerns…I definitely feel like I can relate,” she said.

“And depending on who it is and how long I’ve known them, I will share my story with some of them.”

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The Anchors’ pre-game huddle at the 2017 Reclink Cup (Image Source: Dave Court)

Ask any of Reclink’s participants or their volunteers and the story is the same: Reclink makes a real difference to their communities by engaging individuals in unique programs outside of the therapy room.

Coach of the Adelaide Reclink Community Cup Sean Kemp believes a lot of the success of Reclink’s programs comes down to sport being a catalyst for meeting people and forming meaningful connections.

“Having worked in community services for 20 years, I have worked with people that [have] mental health issues, [are] experiencing homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction,” Coach Kemp said.

“Reclink is a vehicle for supporting those in the community that require inclusiveness and support to overcome barriers and improve their lives via recreation and art.”

When it comes to inspiring his team, Coach Kemp said the broader cause is a strong motivator, but he is not afraid of lightening the mood at training with his infamous “motivational” pep talks.

“I tell stories about sausages, cheap shoes, lions, gazelles, porcupines and the frog that never gave up,” he said.

“It’s all motivational.”

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Everybody gets involved in this weird, wacky, and wonderful game of footy (Image Source: Dave Court)

Asser believes the kookiness, the fun, and the camaraderie is what the Community Cup is all about.

“It’s got all those aspects of a team sport…rivalry, a mini-community where people can actually get together and do something meaningful but also meet new people,” he said.

“Apart from all the great benefits for Reclink, there’s quite a significant social capital built and friendships formed between the participants too.”

Fifth-year Anchors player and well-known Reclink hype-man Chris “Nutman” Dastoor said these friendships are what he cherishes most about the cup.

“I was a little bit nervous because I hadn’t played football since I was 14 and I was a shit football player—I mean, I still feel like a pretty poor athlete,” Mr Dastoor said.

“But the friendships I’ve made helped me feel a lot more comfortable.

“It’s a great cause and a great day, but I’ve also found it became a good way to make friends and network…I’ve made a lot of connections with people from the media through the cup and it really helped me get a foot up in the industry.”

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“Nutman” receives his jersey before the 2017 Reclink Cup (Image Source: Dave Court)

Asser said his highlight is before the game when he sees the energy in the change-rooms, with players coming together for the warm-up and pre-game speeches.

“The buzz that’s in the room before the game…it’s hard to describe,” he said.

“It’s a fun thing, but it’s much more than a game and the players realise that.”

Recent state government funding cuts mean attendance at the Community Cup is more important than ever.

This year’s theme is “from little things big things grow”, inspired by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody’s iconic song.

The organisers hope that from humble beginnings, the fifth iteration of the Adelaide Reclink Community Cup can be its biggest yet.

The game kicks-off at midday and entry is $5 at the gate or a gold coin for kids under 16.

There’s also tonnes of raffles, beer and halftime entertainment.

Asser said he’s hoping for lots of sunshine and a big turn-out on the day.

“It’s a fun day for the whole family,” he said.

“People can come out and enjoy themselves while funding programs to create opportunities for disadvantaged Australians.”

As for “Nutman”, he promises it will be a game like no other.

“It’s a fun afternoon to come out and watch…it’s a pretty scrappy, average football game,” he said.

“It’s not the prettiest thing; we make no secret about that.

“But it’s so unique…guys and girls playing a footy game together while having fun, that’s the unique aspect of it.

“No matter whether we win or lose, we’re out here making a difference and raising funds for Reclink.

“That’s the bottom line and in that sense, we’ve already won.”

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Get ready for another big game of Reclink on Sunday. (Image Source: Dave Court)

 

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