take 10

Deirdre Bren­nan

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - UPDATE -

Sport Changes Life, tel: 028 9045 4964 or visit, sportchanges­life.com

The 52-year-old lives in Jor­danstown and is a pro­fes­sor of Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Sport at Ul­ster Univer­sity and co-founder of Sport Changes Life. Deirdre also es­tab­lished the award-win­ning Ul­ster Univer­sity Sports Outreach Unit and has pi­o­neered the univer­sity’s Tal­ented Ath­lete En­try Pro­gram as well as the Vic­tory Schol­ars Pro­gram. Along­side hus­band and fel­low co-founder of Sport Changes Life, Gareth Maguire, she is work­ing to­wards the Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame Belfast Clas­sic on De­cem­ber 1 and 2, which will see four US univer­sity teams meet in the first tour­na­ment of its type in Europe

1. What is your ear­li­est mem­ory?

Walk­ing to the well to get wa­ter with my mum. We didn’t have run­ning wa­ter in our first home and my mum used to walk to the well ev­ery day. I was three or four years old and she would al­ways plan to go when Doc­tor Who was on be­cause it gave me night­mares.

2. Who is the most im­por­tant per­son in your life?

That’s a four-way tie be­tween my hus­band Gareth and three daugh­ters. Fam­ily is ev­ery­thing to me. I try to teach my girls that they should be there for each other, now and al­ways, no mat­ter what.

3. Shock us — tell us some­thing sur­pris­ing about your­self?

I don’t drink and I’m a ter­ri­ble swim­mer (hate the wa­ter). Also, ev­ery day I dreaded go­ing to school, but I like to think that my dis­like of school makes me a bet­ter teacher to­day.

4. What is your great­est fear?

Not liv­ing up to the stan­dards I was raised to live by. Grow­ing up, my mum and dad in­stilled within me the im­por­tance of loy­alty, trust and in­tegrity. They have al­ways been my in­spi­ra­tion but set the bar high.

5. What makes you most happy?

Our girls Anna (19), Enya (17) and Erin (14) all have very dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties. Un­sur­pris­ingly they are very sporty, like Gareth and me. They play com­pet­i­tive bas­ket­ball for Ire­land so they travel a lot and have to sac­ri­fice a lot of reg­u­lar teenage things to pur­sue their sport. They make me proud ev­ery day.

6. And your big­gest re­gret?

Not teach­ing my mum to drive. I come from a dairy farm be­tween Mon­aghan town and the beau­ti­ful vil­lage of Glaslough, about four miles from town. Not know­ing how to drive has al­ways left her de­pen­dent on oth­ers.

7. How do you chill out?

I love to Face­time my el­dest daugh­ter Anna who is at col­lege in the US, and walk­ing up Cave­hill to see the great views of Belfast with Pip­pen, our dog. I don’t have a lot of down time. Out­side of work I do a lot of vol­un­teer work in bas­ket­ball and with Sport Changes Life.

8.What’s the most im­por­tant les­son you have learnt in life?

To be com­fort­able be­ing your­self and not let mis­takes de­fine you. Ad­mit­tedly these lessons are not prac­ticed ev­ery day. I con­sider my­self a work in progress.

9. The book and song that means the most to you — and why?

I first read A Child Called It by David Pelzer when I was a newly qual­i­fied teacher. It is a hard read but it gives you a great in­sight into the strength of hu­man spirit and re­silience. I don’t have one favourite song, but I do love to lis­ten to mu­sic, mostly the ra­dio.

10. If you could change one thing what would it be and why?

I’ve al­ways wished I was taller — maybe 5’11’ — I think it would have helped my game when I was play­ing bas­ket­ball.

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