Sport inspires youth to be healthy
IMAGINE a virtual cure-all for modern illnesses like depression, obesity, diabetes and low self-esteem.
Former Noosa coach Noel McBride believes there is one.
Except it doesn't come in tablet form. It's called sport.
Following many years of being involved in sport, both as a competitor and a coach, Mr McBride has no doubt "involvement in sport enhances life".
And you don't need to be at the top of the game to enjoy the benefits.
"The natural endorphins that come from playing sport last for hours," Mr McBride said.
"It makes you feel good about yourself. Some kids are naturally great sports people, but they're not in the majority.
"You need to do the best you can, focus on what you can do and let it inspire you to do better things."
Mr McBride said society had changed significantly since he was at school when sport was a part of everyday life and most kids hopped on their push-bike to get to school.
"When I grew up, sport was something everybody did at school. But that's gone out of the way.
"Something's got to happen in this society. Obesity levels and diabetes are at high levels at a much younger age.
"So much of what we do is on computer. We don't have the opportunity to do regular exercise."
Mr McBride has turned his 30 years of coaching experience, which started in Noosa, into a book.
Titled Be your Own Hero, the book published by Brolga Publishing, highlights how you can achieve through sport and "excel in life".
It includes the true stories of a selection of athletes and coaches and how involvement with sport - any sport - has had a profound impact on their lives.
While surnames aren't revealed to maintain privacy, the stories of many people from the Sunshine Coast fill these pages.
Like "Wayne and his wife Donna", who run a gym in Noosa.
Wayne tells how "sport has shaped me into the person I am".
"I was a shy child with low self-esteem until I started karate at the age of 12."
He says he knows for a fact that without sport "I would be a very shy, reluctant and, I would guess, an average, unsuccessful adult".
Instead he established a full-time karate dojo in Noosa and has gone on to win numerous karate titles across the world.
He also is scuba-diving instructor.
"Michelle" tells another story of how she came to know Mr McBride in the early 1980s when she was 13 and joined the Noosa Athletics Club.
Mr McBride said she wasn't an outstanding runner, but she was "very determined as an athlete and a person".
She tells how through athletics, "I learnt to overcome disappointments brought on by illness, injury or failure to reach a goal".
"I also learnt that hard work and discipline can help you achieve goals and therefore experience the joys and recognition that comes with success".
Michelle went on to become a coach herself, primarily in touch football, a secondary school teacher and a mother and a wife.
Mr McBride said the cost of participating in sport might be a factor for some parents, but "running around a sports field" was something available for free that produced benefits.
His book is available for sale at all major bookstores or through his website www.beyourownherothebook.com.