Flashback to 2011: A 15 year old Dylan was off collecting his Junior Cert results, eating Burger King and reading the adventures of Green Lantern & the Blackest Night. In another room my father was off debating the transfers, and Cork’s chances of reaching an All Ireland final. The idea of sports was a foreign concept: the very idea of football made me want to run in the opposite direction. I was a tag. A teenager who liked to be on his room, a piece that did not fit and he enjoyed comic books and video games.
Flash-forward to 2016. I’m after spending five hours on a bus, my neck sore from reading this month’s Liverpool FC magazine, and my jersey is starting to fade. My stomach rumbles, my head somersaulting through ecstatic fantasies; this could be it. Win tonight and it is ours. Cork City till I die.
Sports found me in the same way life did; in a haze of blood and thunder one Sunday afternoon. While I found friends and a social life through drama and theatre, it wasn’t until discovering the beautiful game that I fell in love.
Despite it all, I have never kicked a ball. Despite everything I have never won a try. Sports is not something I just enjoy for staying fit or to depress me every week, it becomes a friend.
Whoever you are, wherever you are; you could be reading this in the archives in 10 years time, or sitting down in the Boole Library trying to dodge another essay, or even you’re part of my own family: sports is more than winning.
Sport is the group of friends we turn to, the closing chapter, the glue that brings us together.
Football gave me friends. Rugby gave me & my Dad some laughs while GAA breaks our heart.
If I could ask anything of you, it’d be to go out and get involved. Sign up and get in there, kick a ball, learn the martial arts, lift a weight. Do what you want to, the way only you can, and the world is your pitch.