With the submission of my paper last night, I’m one full semester done here. Wow!! It is truly unbelievable how fast this first 4 months has gone. It literally seems like yesterday that we were starting orientation in August. The first semester has been an amazing experience, and honestly everything that I hoped this program was going to be. Throughout the first semester, I’ve been able to interact with a wide range of people through the various programs that Sport Changes Life runs. There have been plenty of Honour rolls at different primary schools, ehoops programs at Jordanstown, Nursing home boccia’s, and over 50’s groups at Valley Leisure. Interacting with the different individuals in all of these settings is amazing and gives a greater appreciation for the culture here. Additionally, helping put on the different programs has been even more fulfilling than what I had previously expected. There is nothing like seeing an ehoops participant have joy brought to their life because of a discussion or game we are playing. The same as seeing the smile on somebody’s face at a nursing home because Mac cracks a joke or they make a good shot in boccia.
Besides interacting with the community here, It has been great getting to know the Scholars more and more. Through different events such as thanksgiving or basketball overnights, it has been great being able to spend more time with the Scholars who are spread out across the island, and see how their journeys are going thus far. Some places I’ve been able to travel to because of these interactions have been Sligo, Kilkenney, and Galway. All of which were great trips. Nothing against Sligo or Kilkenny, but I especially loved Galway and everything it had to offer. Definitely looking forward to more of these trips as we head into the second semester.
On the basketball side of things, it has been great being able to have the opportunity to play on after college, and at a different level. It was something that I had always dreamed of doing, but didn’t know if I would ever get the chance to do so. I am definitely trying to cherish every moment of basketball I have left. In regards to our team, we had a less than perfect first half of the season, but had a big win to end the year. I’m hoping that we can figure some things out and put the pieces together for a strong finish to the season. Additionally, It has been great to interact with the team. It’s a great group of guys who couldn’t have been more accepting and/or kind to Kadeem and I. I am definitely looking forward to getting to know them better, and enjoying their company the rest of the way.
To wrap things up, I honestly can’t wait to see what the second half of this journey is like, and has in store. I will definitely be looking forward to more Sport Changes Life programs, basketball activities, and traveling around Ireland and Europe. If this second semester is anything like the first, it’ll be great craic! (Even have picked up some of the local slang and lingo)