THERE are few things in life that we get more passionate about than our love of sport.
On the field, in the crowd, over a beer or just watching on television can see us caught up with the emotion of the game.
I was lucky as a youngster, my dad and mum encouraged me and my five brother’s and sisters to get out and have a go.
Mind you, just getting us out of the house might have been a big part of their enthusiasm.
I played rugby union at the local park from the time I was seven and despite the many years that have past those team-mates are still friends today.
My team, Willoughby, enjoyed success on the field, but the real success for me was being part of that group.
The players in that side went on to do many varied jobs in life, one became a bus driver, another a high profile banker and one still sits as a judge on the Supreme Court.
When we held a reunion five years ago it was as if we had pulled on the club’s red and white jumper the week before.
The point is it didn’t matter what we were or what we did, on game day and at training we were a team and when we got back together, we were all mates again.
And isn’t life about just that. The more we work with each other and the more we respect each other
the better off we all are.
I encouraged my daughter to play sport in the same way my parents did. She even played rugby union like me, and she got to run on in an exhibition match at Suncorp Stadium before a Red’s game.
I was proud, she was excited, and my wife couldn’t stop smiling. I am writing this column today because my day at the local rugby league finals just last week reminded me of the true value of sport.
I am dismayed by the families that turn their back on sport for their children and instead let them spend hours alone in their rooms playing on their computers and phones.
They don’t have to be a champion, a great runner, a gifted athlete to be part of a team. The greatest enjoyment I got from coaching junior sport was to turn the average player into the happiest player.
It was never about winning; in fact, my first junior league side went through the season and didn’t win a match.
The next year when we finally walked off the field as winners it wasn’t just me and the players that shed a tear of joy it was also every parent. That’s what sport can do for you and family.
Be part of it and enjoy life to the fullest.