Sydney's Reclink Community CupThere really is some truth to the quote “Football isn’t a matter of life or death, it’s much more important than that.”

Sometimes footy can mean more than four points on the line and striving for flags, it can actually make a difference to the lives of people.

Not just having the result of the game hinge upon whether you have a crabby Monday morning at work, or if your dream team tops the 2,000, but making a significant impact to the actual day-to-day existence of those less fortunate.

The catchcry of charity organisation Reclink Australia is “Rebuilding lives through sport and art.”

The first Community Cup took place in Melbourne in 1997 and this year the event spreads its wings to Sydney for the first time.

The game has become an annual institution in Melbourne, where members of the music community – The Espy Rock Dogs – take on community radio announcers – The Triple R 102.7 and PBS 106.7 Megahertz in a game of Australian Rules football to raise money for the Reclink organisation.

The event embraces the culture and ethos of grass-roots amateur footy, and showcases the importance of sport, in particular footy, in bringing communities together.

Reclink, who have been the cup’s main charity partner since 2009, are an organisation committed to using footy, sport, and art to bring hope and purpose to underprivileged people.

The CEO of Reclink Adrian Panozzo shared the importance of the community Cup to the work Reclink Australia does.

“The event in Melbourne raised $100,000 profit for Reclink and we can actually put a disadvantaged player through a season of footy for $40.

“Our national footy budget is probably around $100,000; that funds fifty teams and over 3,000 players.

“Those teams are from such remote places as the central desert of the Northern Territory, we have seven teams playing out of prisons around the country, youth detention teams, teams playing out of residential drug facilities, teams with a mental health profile, and then teams who would be largely made up with people off the street.

“We can do a lot with $1000 so the Community Cup is a blessing for us”.

As well as providing a spectacle in the form of the game out on the field, the footy is also crucial to helping the lives of the disadvantaged. Panozzo describes the benefit that Aussie Rules, and sport can play in the lives of people.

“When you are sitting on a footy ground, or singing in a choir, or playing basketball or swimming, for two hours they are not that homeless person.

“For an hour they can forget about their mental health issues. If they are craving or have an addiction, the time seems to pass without them thinking about scoring. The social impact is compelling.”

Part 2 of our feature on the Community Cup will feature interviews with quirky radio personality Adam Spencer and quietly confident singer songwriter Dan Sultan…