August 4, 2015

GAA for Dummies

BA BA BA BA BABA BA…with the right inflection, you’ll see I’m trying to print the theme tune of the Sunday Game. The soundtrack of the GAA conjures up memories of newspapers flittered everywhere, the lingering smell of roast chicken, and Mama Bear studying the Mass leaflet with great intent.

Unabashed by my failed efforts at becoming a child camogie prodigy, I solidly performed my duty as a loyal county supporter. I dusted off the jersey that was seasons old and I donned the braided rope in my hair. I even attempted the dual eyeshadow to match (as a Galway native, you can imagine the horrific pairing of maroon and white that took place on my eyeballs).

At Croke Park outings, I was determined not to be held back by my limited knowledge of the game and so I yelled out safe words of encouragement like ‘Go on ya good thing!’ Meanwhile, the seasoned supporters were doling out actual pointers such as ‘The corner back needs to mark up!’ and ‘Ref, that was a 45 if ever I saw one!’ I prayed no-one would single me out as an imposter and I was ready to recite the Amhrán na bhFiann word for word back to them, even if all they asked was did I want a Coke?

As previously stated, my intellectual and physical ineptitude for GAA was through no lack of familial influence. A goal opportunity could propel Papa Bear into an imaginary seat inches from the television screen, yelling at the players, who were now all bastards. He was adamant that my loyalty would be to Galway in their recent match against Cork, as if my current geographical location would have me automatically decked out in red and white screaming ‘UP THE REBELS!’

Despite my early apathy for the Sunday Game, I will admit to becoming a regular viewer. I grow more enthralled each day by the effect that the GAA has on our nation, how an All-Ireland Final can captivate an audience, and most of all, how fantastic a bum can look in those teensy white shorts.

Anyway, we are nearing the end of this piece and I have yet to offer up the words of advice that were promised by my title. If like me, theoretical sporting terms fail to register in your brain, just throw out a few names here and there. Marty Morrissey is king. Joe Brolly is a bollix. Michael Lyster is the only man for the job. Ger Loughnane has some way with words. The Gooch. There you go. Sure aren’t you practically playing county at this stage?