Teaching the values of sport

UBC rugby player Liam Murphy-Burke is heading to Uganda on a humanitarian trip. - Bob Frid/UBC photo
UBC rugby player Liam Murphy-Burke is heading to Uganda on a humanitarian trip.
— image credit: Bob Frid/UBC photo

Growing up in South Surrey, Liam Murphy-Burke played nearly every sport there was to play.

He played volleyball, basketball and rugby at Semiahmoo Secondary, and baseball for White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association, too.

“I played pretty much everything except hockey, because my parents didn’t teach me how to skate,” he laughed.

Now strictly a rugby player – he plays at UBC, where he’s heading into his fourth year as a political science student – Murphy-Burke is hoping to share some of what he’s learned through years of competition with young athletes in Uganda.

Next month, Murphy-Burke will head to the African nation with a group of 12 other university athletes from across Canada on an 18-day humanitarian trip organized by Gainline Africa.

While there, they will be tasked with imparting their coaching wisdom on young athletes with the hope that the lessons will aid them – both in sports and beyond – as they grow up.

“It’s a sports-for-development program, so the idea is that you can use sports to help out in countries that are post-conflict,” said Murphy-Burke.

Uganda has suffered through civil unrest in various forms since the 1980s, and is still recovering.

“Hopefully we can go there and instill some values that have had an impact beyond sports – things like leadership, teamwork and overcoming adversity. There’s just so many values I know that I’ve taken from sports that have helped me,” Murphy-Burke explained.

“I’ve travelled quite a bit with rugby, and I’ve done some coaching, but this combines the two, and I’m really excited for the experience.”

Prior to leaving for Africa, Murphy-Burke is holding a fundraising night to help offset the costs of his trip.

On June 1, he’ll host a pub night at Ceili’s in South Surrey.

Tickets are $20 and include a burger and a beer.

For more information, or to buy tickets, email Murphy-Burke at

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