OK, if you’re not from somewhere in Ireland you might have to google camogie…”an Irish stick-and-ball team sport played by women.” Or, today, on a wildly windswept and often wet complex of pitches in Ballycastle, it was played by about 150 eleven-year old girls (maybe more, hard to count, they didn’t stand still for long).
This was the second camogie blitz graciously organised by Cross and Passion College, the home school of Lucia, and her elder sister, Alice. In honour of Lucia’s passion to encourage conversation about organ donation, the school set up this annual event, inviting N Ireland’s Year 8 girls (first year of our Secondary Schools) to play for the Lucia Quinney Mee Memorial Cup, and the Live Loudly Donate Proudly Shield.
It’s a fast and intensely energetic game – with sticks – and was played today with the commitment and drive of many a professional sport. But it was also a festival of goodwill, friendship, fun, and deep-down positive delight. The sort of stuff that is medicine and healing for any jaded, tired hearts and minds. Even when there were tumbles and whacks and limping players no one rolled in anger to the ref for sympathy and no one was cautioned or sent off. They smiled and carried on. And provided each other, the teachers, coaches and assorted spectators with an excellent day’s entertainment and pleasure.
When it was all done and the winners, runners-up and every other team were cheered and applauded, there were a few minutes of talk about organ donation. James McCurdy, a local man whose life was saved by a liver transplant eighteen months ago, gave something of his story. On behalf of Live Loudly Donate Proudly, doing the best we could to follow Lucia’s lead, (never with anything like the immediate passion and charm that shone when Lucia did it herself), we spoke of her gratitude to her donors, and her drive to encourage us all to have informed conversations about organ donation.
Lucia focused so much of her attention on children and young people. And the reason for that was evident in front of us today. All that energy, openness, kindness, curiosity, the commitment, is the engine for potential change. As hard as those young people chased the sliotar (don’t google it, it’s the name for the ball…) up and down that wind-lashed field today, Lucia believed that young people will do the same with any idea or cause or campaign they take on and commit to.
So, as the medals and the cup and shield were awarded and the young people made ready to climb back into their buses for home, they were invited to carry on talking about organ donation, ask questions, and encourage others to do the same. To…Live Loudly and Donate Proudly. And who knows where that may lead. Camogie could prove to be good for someone else’s health…
Cross and Passion College, Lucia Quinney Mee Memorial Cup winners 2023