“Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
For years, this quote from the Disney film Lilo & Stitch has been one of my favourites. But the older I get, the more I come to terms with the fact that family isn’t always people related to you by blood. It’s close friends and those who support you just as much as any parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or cousin ever would. I have been so blessed in my life to meet so many extraordinary people who look out for my well-being on a daily basis. I developed really strong relationships with two of my professors at Albertus, Ron and Christine, and teachers/coaches from Mercy, Freem, Kohs, Tony, and Kasey whom have all become role models to me.
Over Christmas break, I was able to spend quality time with all these people and my best friend Natalie who is over in Luxembourg playing professional basketball. We met up with our AAU coach Stevie and our teammate/friend Sarah. Reminiscing on all the years of basketball we played together and all the places we went made me realise how important my role as a Victory Scholar is. The coaching that I do provides hope for all the young lads in Limerick for their own future careers in sport. One day, they will be able to look back on all the great people they met through their years on teams as well. My mentors and close family friends reminded me of the vital role I play in the children that I work with in the community. Just as I aspire to be like role models, these young kids look up to me.
The transition in moving to Ireland for a year has been very tough for me. Thankfully, I have support from home but more importantly I have my Sport Changes Life Family. I’ll admit that I have faced some really tough days but because of my fellow Victory Scholars and SCL Crew I’ve been given hope to continue on. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today if people hadn’t picked me up when I fell. I think it is very important to have a certain amount of self-motivation but also to never be afraid to ask for a shoulder to lean on when needed. Good relationships and friendships are built by people who genuinely care about one another.
In conclusion, never give up and stay positive because just by being yourself, you’ll do wonders. In return, the good-hearted people in your life will support you when you are at your lowest. Even 3,000 miles away from my family, mentors, and close friends I’ve been blessed to find an Ohana in my teammates, players, and most importantly Sport Changes Life.
Family is Forever