Tommy Bowe started out as a gymnast, Sean O’Brien was a sprinter, Robbie Henshaw was a hurdler, Niamh Briggs was an athlete and Niall Quinn was a Long Puck champion, all through Community Games. So it seems that to become excellent at one sport doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to just one sport!
And it’s never too late – in an interview with Community Games Tommy Bowe said: "I always enjoyed rugby as a sport but never realized I had a talent until I left school at around 18. I would encourage children to try lots of sports and find out which is their favourite. Playing other sports will help in rugby as you pick up skills in every sport that come in useful.”
Bressie is another advocate of diversity in sport, speaking last year with Community Games he said: “Find a sport you love. There are so many sports and just because your friends may love rugby or soccer you don't have to play it. For example a good friend of mine never liked sport as a teenager as he felt he always had to play the sport his friends played. He started experimenting with other sports and became an incredible cyclist at a top level as there was something about this sport he loved so he excelled in it. Life is too short to do something you don't enjoy and when there is so much choice there is no reason to not give everything a shot.”
The thing about being involved in sport from an early age is that variety is key. Maybe Tommy can jump so high because of skills learned in his Monaghan Community Games Gymnastics club? Maybe Sean can tear down the field with a ball in his hand because of the confidence he got from winning a medal in the 100m? Is Robbie able to leap like a gazelle over burly Scottish rugby players because he had lots of practice in the hurdles?
The other thing is to never give up and to never stop dreaming. Sean O’Brien lost his first rugby tournament in the County semi-final in Community Games – the next year he joined Tulllow Rugby Club and the rest, as they say, is history.
As Tommy Bowe said: “Never in a million years would I have thought I'd get the chance to play for my country or the Lions but I dreamed about it all the time. It shows that when you have a dream of what you want to achieve and you combine it with training and hard work, your dream can come true!
Whatever sport your child wants to play, let them and let them play lots! There is no wasted time and it's never too late. The friends they will make, the skills they will learn and the long-lasting health benefits will be the ultimate gold medal!
For more information on getting involved in over 50 different sports and cultural activities visit www.communitygames.ie
Get in Touch!
If you have any news you would like to see featured on our blog please click here