“Slow down! Appreciate the little things in life, and take not what you have today for granted.” That was the advice given by the former national woman footballer, Tamar Watson, as she launched the Brick-House Youth Mentorship Programme at Vessigny Secondary School on Friday.
Watson, in a candid discussion with the students, delved into her background which included fighting, gambling, drug use and the psychological trauma of having to cope with the loss of her best friend and Women’s Boxing Hall of Famer Giselle Salandy eight years ago.
Watson and Salandy were driving west in a Toyota Yaris on January 4, 2009 heading into Port of Spain when the former national boxing champion lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a concrete pillar along the Beetham.
Watson spoke of the serious injuries she sustained in the accident, how it affected her career as a professional footballer along with her ability to battle and overcome the emotions of surviving the accident while her friend did not.
The tragic accident, which gripped the attention of the nation, saw Watson suffer two broken legs and remained in critical condition for quite some time.
She never recovered physically or psychologically to resume playing football at a high level.
For Watson, she is lucky enough to able to recall the horrific night as she described it as the moment she lost everything in a split second. Watson’s footballing dreams were shattered in an instant and she drowned herself in depression for two years.
But instead of continuously slipping into the darkness, she decided on using her other talents to inspire the future generation to take heed of everything in life and be mindful of not taking loved ones for granted.
Speaking to the students in attendance, Watson stated, “The accident didn’t only take Giselle’s life, it also ended mine the way I knew it to be.” She continued, “You have to take responsibility for your actions now as you are the ones to face the consequences of them later on. In life, take your time because there is no need to rush things as they will eventually fall into place, appreciate your parents and those around you and never forget to think about your future and make strategic steps in the right direction.”
As one one of the leading figures and motivational speaker in the Brick-House team, Watson was accompanied on stage by Charnell Lucien and Bryant Henry who also addressed the feature topic of Combating Depression.
Lucien captivated the audience as she delivered her spoken word speech which consisted of word-play with song lyrics, to positively touch the youths, while Henry’s miming performance got the students off their feet.
The programme is geared towards opening the eyes and minds of youths in the nation by showing them that they have control of their lives.
Speaking with Newsday after the event, Watson passionately emphasised: “This initiative was developed because we wanted to reach out to the youths and give them an insight into the different struggles currently taking place in the country and how they can better prepare themselves for the realities of life.”
She added: “While we, the current generation, may not be able to change the future for the children, we can certainly get them ready for it instead.” The Brick-House team is currently on the move as they continue to schedule visits to promote positivity by performing in various schools. Their next target is Cedros Secondary School next Wednesday. For more information and to make booking arrangements, contact 476-2001.