Editor's Viewpoint: Sporting heroes lift our spirits
It is possible to construct an argument that sport is totally inconsequential. It would go along the lines that, at the professional level, sport's rewards are for the relatively few and at amateur level its impact seldom reaches beyond those actually participating.
But it is a false argument, because it does not take into account how sport provides a backdrop or narrative to our lives.
At its very basic level sport provides entertainment and gives an insight into the determination of the human spirit to overcome all odds.
For others it is an all-consuming passion.
To them the success or failure of their team can impact hugely on how they feel.
Likewise, victory for a national team or representative lifts the spirits of many more than just die-hard sports fans.
Little wonder then that we often put our sporting heroes and heroines on a pedestal.
We seek to overcome our own shortcomings by identifying with their abilities.
In that respect we are very fortunate in Northern Ireland to have so many great examples of sporting prowess as witnessed at last night's Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
Indeed the overall winner, Graeme McDowell, is a role model we can all embrace.
Talented, determined, but modest, he is a great ambassador for the country and has given Northern Ireland welcome worldwide publicity.
Likewise Tony McCoy, generally recognised as the greatest jump jockey of all time, a man with an insatiable drive for success.
And Glentoran footballer, Matty Burrows, who proved with his amazing goal that no matter what level you perform at, just maybe you could astonish the world.