Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Why do you play sport?

Why do we play sport? This question came into my head for two reasons.

Firstly, I asked the same question to a group of coaches and players the other day. I have been taking a few coaching sessions for Strathroy Harps u15 and u17s. This question was something I asked the players. You can imagine that it was a difficult question to get a response from a group of 14-17-year-old boys in front of their peers, but we got there in the end.

It also made me think about the way I asked the question, maybe I should have texted them the question and they would have communicated more honestly through a private message… lesson learned.


Anyway some of the answers I did receive were ‘to play football’ and ‘for the craic’. For me this sums it up.

Children and adults just want to enjoy a sport they are passionate about and have ‘the craic’, in some cases winning is also a massive part which I will explore later.

Secondly, I asked this question to myself as I made a decision to come back and play Gaelic this year after taking a year out. Why do I play sport? What do I get from it?

For me the answer lay in enjoyment, training in a group and having the ‘banter’ with a bunch of men I shared a lot of ups and downs with through my playing days. Winning is also a major part, and there is no better feeling than being in a winning dressing room.

These are just a few of my own reason but let’s take a look at why many of us do and should play sport.

Healthier body and mind
When you are training towards a goal in your sport then you are going to be in good physical condition. Along with that comes improvement in mental health as well.
Be careful not to put yourself under too much pressure to train and perform at the highest level because it can have an effect on both your physical and mental health.

If you are passionate about something and enjoy doing it then what’s not to like about it? When I took a year out from playing I was ready for it.
The enjoyment factor had gone for me, but with a year out I have my passion and hunger back. Now I’m back, I feel more relaxed and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.


Who doesn’t love winning? When coaching kids we always tell them that it’s great to win, but it’s equally important how take defeat. You will learn more about yourself and your team in defeat than you will winning But winning always feels that much better!

Brain development
Keeping children active can help then absorb more information and concentrate more. Apply this to academic work then adding sport into your weekly routine is a no brainer. Even for adults, learning new skills and hobbies keeps parts of the brain active that would otherwise lay dormant.

Social aspect
The is a huge part of playing sport. The circle of friends you meet, the coaches you interact with and all other people connected with your sport. Sport is a fantastic way of bring people together from all different backgrounds.

Build friendships
I’ve met some of my best friends through sport. I also know that there is a strong group of people who would always be willing to give you a hand in your hour of need. Being involved in sport… you spend a lot of time with certain individuals and you experience highs and lows together. This helps build those strong and long lasting friendships.

I’m very fortunate to have made a career in sport and physical activity, others can find themselves even more fortunate from making a career from playing sport.
Either way, if you are passionate about sport and it’s what you love, why would you want to work in any other industry.

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007

Read the full story in this week’s paper, available in your local newsagents today or subscribe to our Digital Edition by clicking below


Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW