Upon my arrival in Ireland, I quickly learned that there’s this thing called hurling and no, it’s not something brought about by a few too many drinks down at the local pub. Surprisingly, it’s an amateur sport that can be best described as a cross between field hockey and lacrosse. This past Sunday, I found myself at Croke Park to witness it in all its glory. I was all set to watch the championship game between Kilkenny and Galway with Galway being the underdogs in this particular match up. Gold/Black versus Purple/White and sadly, despite my desire to dress up like a bumble-bee, the right colours couldn’t be found in my wardrobe at any stretch of the imagination so I sported a supportive to no one attire of pink and black.
Sporting my pink and black sweat gear for the day, didn’t make the lengthy and strenuous walk to the stadium in rain feel any better. I was grumpy and wet well before the game even started. To make matters worse, when we finally made it to our seats it was disappointing to discovered a rather annoying American from Philly (no, not hating on Americans – just being descriptive is all) know-it-all ranting about the game and what everyone else needed to know about it according to him. Arg! Is it wrong to sometimes wish that you conveniently had a muzzle hidden in your handbag for moments like this?
Regardless of the ravings of the lunatic behind me, the game proved to be a lot less interesting in my eyes. I’m not sure if it was the weather or just my desire to be somewhere warm and cozy at that point of the day. Anyway, the rain was slowly but steady beating down on us as I was barely able to keep track of which end of the field the sliotar (the little white ball that these men were batting around with sticks called hurleys) was in. Before long, I came to the realization that I’d never know where the sliotar was and this experience was just lost on me. As quickly as that, I gave up on the sport of hurling and decided it was more fun trying to anticipate the little acts of violence that was happening on the field. I don’t understand the rules well enough to say if the plays I witnessed were legal or illegal but what I do know is I caught the most brilliant clothesline that brought a player to his knees. If that’s not a stand up and cheer moment then I’m not quite sure what is.
Sad to say that moment was the highlight for me as the rest of the game became a blur. The players moved up and down the field at lightening speed and the underdogs looked like they were anything but as they dominated the field and the scoreboard for the entire game. I was cold and wet and not the least bit interested in learning what hurling was all about. When the final whistle blew, I could not have been more thankful that the game was finally over and Galway was being crowned as the new champions. I may have played field hockey in the past and have always enjoyed watching a good game of lacrosse but for one reason or another, it looks as though hurling is just not my cup of tea.