independent

Thursday 21 August 2014

Reaction to sport is over dramatic

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 21/09/2011 | 11:49

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WHAT IS it about sport that gets almost everyone in Ireland so riled up? I might be on my own here but I just don't get all the hype. This past weekend was jam-packed with various events-so I'm told and the way people were acting it was as if all their Christmases had come at once. For some, I suppose it's entertaining to watch their county or national team compete for the top prize but for others it's a case of any teams, any match will do, so long as sport is on the box.

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The build up to the All-Ireland final is excessive in my opinion. I had to laugh hearing some of the headlines about the Dubs' win. Not winning the title in so long hardly constitutes '16 years of pain'. I just find the whole thing so over dramatic and I cannot understand the level of interest that is paid to these games.

'Pain' is a huge exaggeration to describe a team of players, volunteers, not winning a final. It's hardly as if they had no joy in their lives before they collected the cup which is a reward for an achievement in a hobby, not a profession.

They play because they want to and surely must understand that for all the glory that comes with winning-it's just a game.

Perhaps this is a bit harsh and I'm not blind to the national interest there is in the GAA. Big matches give people enjoyment and the lift they need during hard times.

However I fail to see how watching your team win a game, even a final will do much to help with real life problems. I'm sure there are many fans who these days can't even afford a ticket to Croker.

For all the respect that players hold, the waffling that takes place courtesy of the pundits is sometimes more like a pantomime.

The one thing that baffles me is that most of the time, even when a team wins, it's not enough-they didn't win in the right way, were lucky or just didn't entertain enough.

How can anyone sitting on the sidelines make out that there was anything more than chance involved when players are making split second decisions on the field. There isn't the time to spend mulling over a decision. It's do or die.

These pundits have all the time in the world to replay moves and form their opinions so they lock horns over how or why a result was reached.

Personally I don't think it's that scientific. Players train, are fit and skilled but once they take to the pitch anything can happen. There's no conspiracy-it's just a game. I think it's the seriousness with how many people treat sports matches of all types that I cannot empathise with. The entertainment side of things is totally clear yet I cannot identify with grown men and women bursting into tears in the crowd whether after a win or a loss.

The one thing I do admire is the devotion of the GAA players who don't even get paid for their efforts. Perhaps one thing we all could take from this is their dedication and channel it into positive energy for the country as a whole that will last longer than a few days after All-Ireland day.

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