Gympie School Rugby Comp - The wet weather did not stop the contest between rivals James Nash State High School and St Patrick's College.
Gympie School Rugby Comp - The wet weather did not stop the contest between rivals James Nash State High School and St Patrick's College. Troy Jegers

Love the game: Why we must keep supporting local sport

WEDNESDAY night's schoolboy rugby grudge match between St Pat's and James Nash was a fresh reminder of all the uniquely beautiful things sport offers our community.

Hearing the opposing players and coaches talk about a tough slog in rainy conditions rekindled memories of the many cold and wet mornings I spent playing aussie rules as a young kid in country Victoria, and even a bit of union after I moved up here.

Lachlan Keeffe of the Giants kicks a goal during the Round 1 AFL match between the GWS Giants and Essendon Bombers at the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Lachlan Keeffe of the Giants kicks a goal during the Round 1 AFL match between the GWS Giants and Essendon Bombers at the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium, Sunday, March 24, 2019. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY CRAIG GOLDING

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Those memories become more distant the older I get, but they are special and will always remain, like they do for anyone who pulls on the boots or straps on the pads at any age or level.

Sport creates an avenue for like-minded people to come together, whether they're team mates or opponents, and create lifelong bonds. It gives us something else to think about when the more depressing headlines start to dominate our minds, the silver linings among swelling dark clouds.

They teach us important, transferable things like respect, mateship, teamwork and discipline, and provide us with good spirited rivalries to uphold through ever-changing times.

Seeing and hearing the next generation retain such a strong passion for the game, whatever their game is, truly warms my heart. It's something we must always encourage.

It's how we end up with our Lachlan Keeffes, our Jessy Keeffes, our Carlin Andersons, our Tino Fa'asumaleauis. It is more than a game.