Sport Off the Ball

Monday 22 September 2014

Always the Kerry rebel, Galvin just does it his way

Retiring legend steals the headlines yet again – despite a big weekend of sporting highlights

Diarmuid Lyng

Published 05/02/2014 | 02:30

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Paul Galvin in action in what turned out to be his final game in a Kerry shirt in their defeat to Cork in the McGrath Cup final Brendan Moran/sportsfile

Rarely is there a mention of the Super Bowl on these shores without the necessary caveat of the price companies paid for 30 seconds of invaluable airtime during the four-hour marathon entertainment spectacle.

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Simpler conversation than explaining the 'defensive blitz', I suppose. But Sunday night's game also marked the anniversary of an ad, that at the time, suitably in 1984, few could have recognised the impact of. It was Apple Mac's 'Big Brother' commercial and what a legacy it would go on to create.

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things."

Spring came this weekend and the sporting calendar came to life. The Six Nations is under way, another instalment of Dublin v Kerry at Croker, competitive hurling is back, Man City, Mourinho, Moyes, Sochi, the Super Bowl.

Yet despite the magnitude of each in their own right, a one-man micro industry, as always, could stand up and be heard where others would have been cast aside as fodder for the most voracious of readers and listeners among us.

When I think of Paul Galvin, I think of Apple's call to action. For that's what it is. The fact that it ends up, conversely, as the very thing that stagnates us is no fault of Apple. For all they can do is lead the way. Because I read it, because it resonates completely, I feel as though my work is done and I can send it on to less enlightened souls. Safe now in the knowledge that I have made a difference somewhere, anywhere, other than to myself.

Galvin never seems to do things that way. He just is. He does. Call it what you want. Label it as you please. But he's himself, and unashamedly so. That's what makes him the misfit, for want of a better word, the rebel.

Courage, as a word, the shell of an experience, is bandied about in GAA dressing rooms around the country from U-6s to senior. Rarely understood, often imitated. There's no greater courage, to my mind, in GAA than to be fully yourself. Galvin challenged the status quo.

Those that preserve it, the fearfully talented, the outwardly tough, the obnoxiously smart.

He stood naked in front of them in dressing-rooms around the country, present or not, and said: "I will be myself today and you can judge me out of the fear in your heart that change is imminent and the old order which elevated you up to somehow have an opinion that counts, doesn't exist when you strip away the dogma."

Galvin opened the door that little bit more to creativity and expression, in his own way, simply by being himself.

No half-time commercial will ever capture the essence of that.

Irish Independent

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