SOMETIMES in the heat of battle, we forget sport is not about winning all the time, or some of the time, sometimes it’s not even about losing or just taking part in a great game.
Sport can be much more than that to those who play or those lives it affects. For some, sport can be a lifesaver, as well as a hobby, a game, or something to do.
I was reminded about this again last night when watching the wheelchair national basketball cup final between the Rebel Wheelers from Cork and Limerick Celtics.
Wheelers won 69-55 beating Limerick in style to capture their fourth cup title in a row. They are a joy to watch and this team epitomises all that is good about sport and its benefits.
And the benefits are incredible, not just physically, but mentally as well.
Just ask 23-year-old Rebel Wheelers player Adam Drummond, whose life changed dramatically two years ago when following an accident he lost the use of his legs.
The former Neptune and Ireland underage star was playing in his first National Cup final as a wheelchair athlete and while he found the surrounds, the game, and the occasion different to that of previous winning cup finals he played in with Neptune, he took time to reflect on the bigger picture: the importance of sport in his life.
“To be honest, I was very nervous,” Adam Drummond said. “This was different to anything I experienced with Neptune. I was worried about it, how would I play, would I play, would we win, but you know being part of this team has been a lifesaver for me.
He did play and hit a couple of baskets and grabbed a rebound.
“I love being involved coaching with Neptune, but those guys don’t understand what I go through.
“They have experienced the same pain I do now, they understand my thoughts and moods a lot more than my Neptune teammates do.
“They help me come to terms with my new life now and when I look around at this team, I realise all is not bad. My life could be worse. I look around at some of my teammates and think I’m lucky and others have if more difficult.
“Take Oisin O’Connor for example. He is a great person and has a great attitude to life. I take inspiration from him. He is 16 years of age, was a great GAA player and now he has the same injuries as me.
“Yet, he is very positive. He gets driven up from Bantry twice a week, trains hard and this was only his second-ever game. He makes me feel better about my life. If he can handle his situation, then I can deal with mine.
“Playing with the Rebel Wheelers has given me a new lease of life. I am very thankful to them for letting me play with them, for taking me under their wing and understanding my pain, my moods and my frustration at times.
“Sport has given me so much and while winning is great, the other benefits are more important to me. I understand that now. It’s a lifesaver.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.