We Need to Talk about Penny
I’m Andrew Prentice. I’ve been a Good Sports representative for a number of years. But if we’re going to celebrate someone who always goes next level for the Good Sports program and the sports clubs they look after, I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to talk about Penny Morgan, who is without a doubt the most enthusiastic member of the Good Sports team, and one of the hardest workers I know. So I’m going to tell you all about her and how much her tireless effort means to us at Good Sports.
I think I helped train Penny. Back in the day Good Sports was delivered by our Project Officers, and when she started with us it was in a Project Officer role. I trained a lot of Project Officers, and Penny was certainly one of the standouts. That goes back about six years. In the years since, although you could’ve said the same thing about her from day one, if you were to remove Penny from the equation of Good Sports New South Wales, it just wouldn’t be the same. Our amazing team in New South Wales that works with her day-to-day would all say the same thing. Because she is absolutely integral to the work that we do in that state.
Passionate about sports, and making sports a safe place
When asked about why she loves working for the Good Sports program, Penny says “I’m very passionate about sports, and making sports a safe place. For me it’s all about taking a sporting club on a voyage to create that healthy club environment as they level up through the program.” At the time she came on board we weren’t sure whether the Project Officer model would work, but she made us so confident it would work. Penny’s so engaged, she’s got so many contacts to call upon. She’s very well respected, particularly within the Rugby League community.
Penny’s so well respected within the sporting community overall. But her love of rugby is almost ridiculous! She arrived at the 2011 NRL Grand Final in a helicopter because she was the Rugby League Community Champion of the Year. Penny hobbled out of the helicopter on crutches and made one of the most memorable grand entrances onto ANZ Stadium in history! She wouldn’t have missed it for the world. That’s how passionate she is.
A partnership grounded by friendly rivalry
One thing that Penny and I have is a friendly competitiveness between our support of NRL and A-League. The passion for what she does, it’s hard to put into words. Penny always says, “when it feels like a job, that’s when I’ll call it a day. Working for Good Sports has never felt like a job, it’s my mission in life.”
Penny goes above and beyond what would even be regarded as exceptional. I can’t speak highly enough about what she does. She always believes, she’s always thinking…Good Sports. It doesn’t matter if she’s not actually at work, she might be doing something else. She’s never off the clock when it comes to supporting engagement. There’s always an angle she’ll work on to promote the Good Sports programs. She’s been such a champion of Good Sports Junior and the Healthy Eating program in New South Wales. She’s made a pathway for the rest of the sports clubs. Penny’s got a mind that never stops ticking over.
“She never lets a club go”
Wherever there’s a club that hasn’t joined Good Sports, there’s Penny. She’s Next Level and then some, when it comes to getting new sports clubs on board the Good Sports program. I mean, she’s got to be the only person in ADF history that has completed a Good Sports accreditation on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney! She completed an accreditation in mid-air! That’s Next Level. But it’s not just about supporting sports clubs at the start of their Good Sports journey. Even after a club reaches a Level 3, she stays with them.
She’ll always be engaged with them no matter how much work that takes. Now that does two things – 1. It makes sports clubs know that they matter to us, they matter all the time. And 2. with that maintained line of support, they engage better and more often with us…it helps sports clubs to reach and stay at a higher standard while they’re levelling up through the program and for the years to follow. Penny’s always got a presence. The sports clubs Penny works with that I speak to always say they feel like the program is working for them.
A while back we ran something called the Good Sports Cup, which was a football tournament on a floating football pitch. It was my job to carry the program out, but Penny of course got involved. She took part over the entire weekend! She just gave her time, no questions asked, as she always does. And thank goodness she did! We had a club drop out at the last moment. Penny to the rescue! She found a club that played in the area where she lives and had it ready at a moment’s notice. She came through and made sure that we were able to hold the tournament without having an uneven draw. I went to her and it got fixed pure and simple. So I suppose that’s Penny in a nutshell.
I couldn’t of had anyone better by my side
But the best example of what she means to me as a colleague is the time we did a trip to Broken Hill. It was an area where Good Sports was trying really hard to make some headway. Because it’s so remote. Over the course of three days, we accredited 14 Indigenous Rugby League clubs in two days – it was one heck of a roadtrip too – 1000 km of travel between clubs in the area! It was an incredible couple of days.
That trip to Broken Hill with Penny really sticks with me. Because it wasn’t just about Good Sports, it was an in-depth look at how we can be culturally respectful, how we can reach out to remote communities and assist them in their challenges. I couldn’t of had anyone better by my side on that trip, or any of the other projects I’ve had the pleasure of working with Penny on.
Penny is a motivator, and a motivation
Working with people like Penny at Good Sports is a key reason why I love what I do so much. And I’m glad I got to tell you just a little about all the incredible work that she does.