Anzac camaraderie is legendary and the fitness of our military personnel is beyond doubt, so it’s fair to say that sport is embraced and indeed embedded within the psyche of our service men and women, both past and present.
However, when Anzac Day falls on a weekend, consideration should be given to how we commemorate and pay our respects to all those who have served, and continue to serve, our country whilst the nation participates in its weekend ritual of sport.
Your state of play
Every State and Territory has different restrictions and protocols for sport played on Anzac Day to ensure that we recognise and commemorate the day appropriately.
In Victoria for example, Sport & Recreation Victoria shared this helpful article referencing the ANZAC Day Act 1958 (Vic) which stipulates:
‘(The Act) prohibits the holding of sporting events to which persons are required to pay an admission fee or make a donation in order to watch sport, without the written approval of the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.’
For local sports in Victoria where no admission is charged or donation requested, you’re free then to play without approvals.
It’s strongly encouraged however that all sports, clubs and teams around the country discuss how they may incorporate suitable commemorative moments into their Anzac Day sporting events. What a wonderful opportunity to connect with veterans in your local community and sporting clubs, share inspiring stories and enhance the understanding of the sacrifice of service on this meaningful day.
If you’re in any doubt about restrictions and protocols in your State or Territory, make sure you reach out to your peak sporting body, local RSL sub Branch or relevant government authority for more information.
Acknowledging and remembering service
At Veteran Sport Australia, we believe the power of sport positively impacts the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families throughout their journey of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration, as showcased at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. And when Anzac Day falls on the weekend, what greater opportunity to shine a spotlight on service through the lens of sport.
From battlefields to footy fields, ball parks, netball courts, cricket pitches and swimming pools, we’re reminded that sport and service can bring us together in mateship and teamwork, creating community and building resilience. So on Anzac Day, and indeed any time we step into the sporting arena, we encourage you to take a moment to pay homage and gratitude to our veterans, our wounded warriors and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy this freedom.
How is your team going to mark Anzac Day this year?
Commemorating Anzac Day with your community
Separate to the sporting field, we encourage all Australians to commemorate Anzac Day by tuning into the national service to be held at the Australian War Memorial and broadcast nationally, attending a local march or taking part in the moving Light up the Dawn service.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs also has a range of free resources available to help you plan a commemorative service in your local area or at home.
However you mark Anzac Day, we urge you to continue the tradition of honouring our veteran community in a way that is meaningful to you.
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Veteran Sport Australia is the legacy organisation of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and exists to support veterans and their families to improve their health and wellbeing through sport and recreation.