GAA: it's called teamwork
THE GAA winds up its year-long 125th birthday this Sunday with a series of commemorative events across the country. Over those months of ever-deepening economic gloom, the association kept the nation's spirits up, as always, with great and inspiring sporting contests.
But not even this great amateur organisation was immune from the chill winds.
The effect on some clubs has been startling, with many players having to emigrate.
For those who remain, the challenge is to reassert the traditional values of courtesy, respect and community spirit, the things the GAA stands for. Anyone who has experienced the camaraderie and sense of extended family that a GAA club engenders will understand what these things are all about.
For GAA people there has always been a deep, if subtle, distinction between professional and "professional".
The army of volunteers whose efforts brought the country's proudest showpiece to fruition, Croke Park, were not motivated by monetary gain, but they placed great value on the kind of excellence that money cannot buy. They still do.
It may espouse amateurism, but the GAA also handles its affairs with a canny skill that might have taught a thing or two to those in charge of the nation's finances in recent times.
Too late now to appoint Sean Boylan as Financial Regulator.
The GAA's accomplishments over 125 years in uniting individuals and communities to work together for the common good will continue to provide inspiration on a national scale in these testing times.
It's called teamwork.