How The World Sports Team Can Bring Us All Together
by Anna Geary, Cork Camogie Player
World Sports Team – three words put together to create history. To start something new, something worthwhile. People of the sporting world ‘lend me your ears’, or for the purpose of this piece, your eyes.
Think for a moment of the joy that sport brings to our lives. Sport creates life-long memories, snippets of action to be dipped into while your grandchildren are happily resting upon your knee. At every level, from every angle, every last sinew of what we are about in the sporting world revolves around the debate, the tactics, the banter and the ‘over the ditch’ rivalry. And let’s not forget the predictions, the roaring speeches, the bitter defeats and the sweet victories. Where would we be without it?
A sports career is like a rollercoaster – you will have your ups and downs, twists and turns. It sets your head racing and your heart pumping but it is one exhilarating ride. And when the day comes when it’s over, all you wish to do, more than anything, is to have the chance to do it all over again.
Pride. Training. Camaraderie. The ecstasy and tension of match day. Tradition. A season of Sundays.
As the poem goes: “Who am I to be brilliant, fabulous, talented? Actually, who are you not to be?” Those of us who are fortunate are the ones who get the opportunity to define the future Rolls of Honour. It is not just an honour, it is a responsibility to all those who can no longer grace the playing fields. Who would give up that feeling come June, derived from the one word that gets everyone’s lips moving – Championship? Throw it in ref! The smell of freshly cut grass, the build up, the team talk and as a friend of mine (from Kerry) put it: “The alluring call of the leather ball.”
Stop! Take it all in and realise this is why you endured all those months of pre-season training (shudder). Game on! I cannot fathom not being able to take part in this ritual. Lacing up your boots and donning your jersey is special every time you do so. A few years ago there was a unique ritual practiced by the Cork Camogie team. In the dressing room before a Championship game, each Cork player waited until every last member of the panel received their jersey. Only then would you put your jersey on to ‘become’ the Cork Team. It was a reminder of what an honour it was on every occasion to represent more than just yourself and your family, but a community of people that were in it with you every stage of the way – hopefully all the way to the steps of the Hogan Stand on the second Sunday of September.
Some people in sport say injury is ‘just part of the game’ and to an extent it is. You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and drive on again. Why? As a noted journalist once wrote: “They tell you you have to care because, well, because you have to. Because you wear this colour jersey, because this is your chance, because this is BIG, because everyone else cares.” But what if you can’t? Injury is part of the game; it’s a vicious reality, so we need to be aware of and support those in our sporting community who have to battle injury in a war that is ongoing in their lives.
You can be a triathlon competitor, a rower, a GAA player or in the heart of a rugby scrum, but we all share a common trait – the ability to participate. It cannot be underestimated. Sport in its truest form does not involve trophies and victories and titles. It flows deep within each sportsperson and brings them all together to share in the experience of participation.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” Marianne Williamson once said. The World Sports Team can help to provide a new hope; it can help relight that spark of passion within the fallen sportsman or woman to allow them to rekindle their love with sport at some level. That all too familiar song echoes in my mind: ‘Lean On Me’.
“Risk more than others think safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” With the World Sports Team, this can become a reality.
Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat.