THE ENVY OF THE WORLD?
As we enter the quiet period of the year for GAA, It is time to reflect on the passion we hold for an amateur sport.
In saying amateur, it is in no doubt professional in every respect, bar payment for play.
Why do we love them so much?
Gaelic games are special, we know this, it’s why we go and spend our hard earned cash to go and watch them.
There is more to it than the actual games themselves however, more than the incredibile intensity, the awesome skills on display, the physical prowess of the competitors…
To see the level of fitness and conditioning that these athletes have achieved for little more than the love of the game and the pride in their county is remarkable, so what drives them to do it?
To answer that question I believe you have to look deep into the grass roots of the GAA all the way down to the Parish level.
GAA members feel an intense rivalry towards other clubs, parishes, towns, districts, or whoever the local opposition might be.
It might be something as simple as bragging rights over a few pints in the local, or after mass on a Sunday morning, but the importance of these bragging rights cannot be understated.
This is a tribal thing, a deep rooted need to show that you are better than the others, it is at the core of all sports, but this is especially evident in Irish sport.
Even though the rivalry and competitive nature of Gaelic games and supporters is evident throughout the organisation, the difference in our games, is that we have the ability to mix our supporters in the crowds without fear of fights and riots breaking out.
Being able to sit amongst opposition fans and have the craic and the banter is almost unique in sports these days, and long may that continue.
But the real difference in our games that sets them apart from other sports, and makes them the envy of others, is that Gaelic games are real, there is no room in a team for anyone not 100% committed to the cause.
Anyone who is not ready to give it all for the cause is quickly found out, and weeded out.
This is because there are no contracts, no wages,no bonuses to collect.There are no Pri-Madonna charachters ruining the teams. You do it for the team, the club, the County, you do it for the fans, the Jersey, you do it because you love it, and because you love it, you give it your all.
It is this honesty of endeavour that makes our games so great to watch, It’s that simple.
Long may that continue…