Three weekends ago I was part of the Killyclogher team that won the Tyrone County Championship. This was a great honour that I shared with all my team-mates and management team.
But the thing that stood out for me most at the final whistle was the sea of young blue Killyclogher fans streaming onto the pitch to share in the joy and adulation that winning the O’Neill Cup brought to the whole parish.
This scene was followed by hugs, handshakes and tears of joy from friends, family and people I had never even met before.
The biggest hug, smile and cheer that I received in those few special moments was from my son, who at the age of seven had hopefully experienced a memory with me that will last a life time and inspire him, along with many others to achieve something special on the sporting field.
The cold nights of pre-season, the extra sessions with the team, all those hours in the gym and the countless sacrifices that each player made were all worthwhile.
Winning and sharing this moment with the people who really care for our team, club and parish is priceless. That is the joy that sport can bring to so many people, it is something that I wish everyone could experience or take inspiration from.
Last week myself and a few players and members from the club went around all the local schools to show the children of the parish the O’Neill Cup.
Nearly 1,000 pupils got a chance to see the cup, get photos with players and ask us questions. I even got a question about how I felt after getting sent off in the first drawn game!
To get the opportunity to inspire so many young kids to get involved in sport is a privilege that I get to experience every day.
Working as a primary schools coach I have the opportunity to work with over 600 kids a week and my main focus is to get them moving and to develop a love for playing sport and keeping active.
The physical benefits of sport are well documented but the social development for me is just as good. Playing or being involved in sport means that you are surrounded by people who want to be successful and win, but more importantly know that you can only do this by working hard – and that’s a great attitude to take into any aspect of life.
Also you will find some wonderful people through sport from players, coaches and volunteers. Not only will these people support you in the sporting environment but outside of this these people become your friends who will support you in many aspects of your life.
If you have children or you personally would like to get involved in sport I would encourage everyone to do so. You don’t have to be talented and you don’t even have to play. Just go along and enjoy yourself.
The good thing about the sporting environment is that there is always something you can get involved with on and off the field.
Simply by getting involved you could also inspire someone to do something great and that’s not a bad trait to have.