Sport was always destined to play a major role in my life. Coming originally from Pakistan – a nation which has the lifeblood of cricket running through every single individual – sporting passion was my destiny.   Then growing up in Ireland, I have been involved in sports (football, hurling, soccer, tennis, you name it) right through my childhood.

After being involved in many different sports, (though mainly cricket) for nearly 15 years, I have come to realise that sports is not only about being active and fit, but there are many deeper lessons that become engrained, without even realising it.

One of the great lessons sports teaches you is to be Competitive.  No matter how good you are, there is always someone better than you and to whom you aspire to catch up.  Growth never stops!

Just as you train to overcome a challenge in sports such as getting promoted to a higher division, that same approach to training is what helps you to overcome other obstacles in your life. Whether those obstacles relate to your profession, your family or just life in general.  Sometimes we hear players say after a match that “I gave it 100%”, but the truth is you can never really give 100% because there is always room for improvement.  No matter how good you may be, the journey of competing and improving is never ending.

Have you ever wondered how, successful sportsmen/women achieve that success? It’s not by luck or accident – it’s through Analysis.  A key to their success is reflecting back on their performances and analysing themselves. Comparing the times when the outcome was positive and times when it wasn’t; the only way to move ahead is by reflecting back.

There is no such thing as losing in sports. One of our own champions, Conor McGregor said “You either win or you learn”. There is only one way a person can lose and that is by not learning!  If you want to keep on climbing that success ladder, keep reflecting on the previous steps you took to get to this point. And remember – it’s not about how many hours you put in, it’s about what you put in those hours.

Leadership is another quality one can benefit from being involved in sports. Coming from a cricket background, the role of the Captain in cricket is by far the most crucial role of a captain in any sport. The captain has to be on his/her feet from the start untill the end of the game, making split second decisions throughout. Not only that, he/she must bond well with the team, keep the team spirit up and take responsibility for the team performance.

Just imagine how much the leadership and decision-making skills of this person will improve over time if he/she is a captain of a team. This can involve playing hundreds of matches and making split second decisions throughout each match, match after match.  From my own experience, the amount of leadership experience and growth potential offered through sport is unbelievable.

I’ve joined Aspira as an Intern, as part of my College degree course. I haven’t yet managed to convince my colleagues to set up an Aspira Cricket team, but I can see the influence of sport all around me.  Many of the staff here coach under age teams; the company is a principal sponsor of Cork City FC, I see one of Conor Murray’s Ireland jersey’s hanging on the wall beside me, and we sponsor the Cycling Tour de Munster.  Now I need to finish up my blog as a group of us are going on a Pilates session during lunch break  www.aspira.ie

Truly, every day is a new day and every game is a new game.

Author – Kashif Ahmad, Aspira.

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