This week the BUSY Lab connected with LMP Pathologists’ Assistant, Martin Grealish to learn a bit about what he does to meet new people, let off some steam, and shape his personal health and wellness. The theme: Gaelic football.
“We obviously play with an agenda to win, but it’s about more than that,” says Martin. “The team really supports each other and the family atmosphere is carried off the field into everyday life.”
Martin’s family has always been passionate about Gaelic football. They had Martin playing at just five years old, and at eight, Martin moved with his family from Canada to Ireland, getting the opportunity to take up the sport where it was founded.
As most LMP staff probably aren’t familiar with Gaelic football it’s a sport that dates back to 1885 and combines the skills of soccer and rugby to create a high scoring, fast paced game. Click HERE to watch a brief video outlining the rules.
Martin describes the perks of playing Gaelic football like those of many team sports: You get to know your local community, develop close bonds and friendships, participate in regular physical activity, and learn valuable leadership skills useful on and off the field.
By joining Gaelic football clubs, Martin has been able to reap all the benefits team sports have to offer, and when he moved back to Canada at 19 he continued to embrace the game and joined Toronto’s St. Vincent’s Football Club.
“I recently retired from playing, but I’m still active with the club,” says Martin. “I’m now more on the management side, helping with the team selection and fundraising. It’s definitely a sport for younger men and women, but it’s great being able to stay involved supporting the club and the community.”
Martin shared a story about the family aspect of the club, and talked about a kid in his twenties joining St. Vincent’s while visiting from Ireland.
The team would regularly help newcomers find steady work, and in this case a teammate’s father offered a job doing renovation and construction. Things were going fine for a while, but eventually their new teammate stopped showing up for work.
Martin and some others went to his house to make sure everything was alright and when they got there they found him just lying around as though he took the day off. Surprised, they questioned him on where he’s been and what he’s been doing, but all they got in response was that sometimes it’s just hard to get out of bed.
As Martin and the senior teammates were about to give some tough love explaining responsibilities and the significance of working for a teammate’s father, the young Irish kid clarified a bit saying that some days it was actually just a real struggle to move himself and get out of bed because he has multiple sclerosis.
The focus of the conversation immediately changed to how the team could help.
Martin and other teammates made arrangements so the kid could keep his job and come into work when he was feeling able to. They also checked on him regularly, making sure things were going okay and offering him any help he needed.
It wasn’t long until their new teammate had to go back to Ireland to be with his family, but while he was in Canada St. Vincent’s football club took on that role – even if only for a short while.
“When you play on a team like this you end up meeting all different kinds of people,” says Martin. “And because you all support each other on the field, you’re naturally there for each other off of it.”
Gaelic football may not be for everyone, but if you’re interested in learning more – check out Toronto’s Gaelic Athletic Association HERE.
What do you do when you need to feel “BUSY”?
What’s that thing you do that makes you happy (“Bliss”),
or helps you relax (“Unwind”),
or makes you feel like you can take on anything that comes your way (“Strength”)?
Martin might help out St. Vincent’s Football Club. What would YOU do?
Check in next week as we hear from another LMP staff member about their BUSY activity. We hope these stories may remind you about your BUSY thing, or even inspire you to try something new!