Occasional thoughts of an Anglican Episcopal priest


Today my son, daughter-in-law, and I watched the All-Ireland Hurling Championship final match between Kilkenny and Tipperary. It was an exciting game and raised some questions for me:

a. Why don’t we have exciting sports like this in the States? This game is non-stop. Except for a brief moment of about 5 minutes duration when the referee’s nose was injured by a player’s hurley, there was no let up during the first 35 minute half … an only a few brief slow-downs in the second half. We (the US) have sports riddle with timeouts and slow-downs, and our national sport (baseball) is about as slow as one can get with all kinds of dead-time. I much prefer the constant action of GAA football (peile) and hurling.

b. Why do we have to have over-paid, over-privileged professional athletes? The hurling and GAA football players are all amateurs. The only paid “position” on a county team (I was told by someone in the pub where we watched the game) is the bainisteoir (“manager”). Everyone else is a volunteer. And the Kilkenny bainisteoir elects to be unpaid! He does this, I was told, for the love of the game. And for these amateur players, the stadium (Croke Park) was PACKED!

c. Sportsmanship … I suppose there are poor sports in Ireland, but as well-fought as this game was (and it was!) at the end of the game there was much good sportsmanship in evidence – both from the losers (Tipperary) who congratulated their victorious opponents, and from the victors (Kilkenny) whose spokesman congratulated the Tipperary players and led a cheer for them. I seldom see that on American sports fields – what I see is disgruntlement and whining, or excessive jubilation and silly dances (like those end-zone hi-jinks when a touchdown is made).

OK … there I’ve said my piece about sports. As most people who know me know, I don’t follow sports. And as the above question should suggest, the reasons are that I find them boring, I object to the high price of sport in the US, and I find the players less that sportsman. I could follow hurling or GAA football, however.


  1. Kim

    What is HURLING ???? Couldn’t quite figure it out from the photos that Patrick posted, except that the sticks looked like field hockey sticks.

  2. Kim

    also agree with you on the slowness of many US games of baseball and football, and the over-paid players. They get paid so much, one can’t really afford to attend many professional games.

  3. eric

    Kim – here’s the link to the official GAA page: http://www.gaa.ie/about-the-gaa/our-games/hurling/
    Also – if you go to youtube and search in “hurling” there are several videos of the sport.

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