Thursday 22 March 2018

A team's heart can't be defined by statistics

Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Dairmuid Lyng

"Sit up straight Brian".

"Sorry Sir".

"Now lads, you've got the anterior and the posterior vena cava. The posterior is responsible for carrying the deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body to the right atrium. The anterior, otherwise known as superior, Brian, does the same thing only for the upper half of the body.

"After that, you have the Pulmonary artery and vein, the left and right ventricle, both atria and the aorta. Every day, your heart beats about 100,000 times, sending 2,000 gallons of blood surging through your body.

"Although it's no bigger than your fist, your heart has the mighty job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed your organs and tissues. Any damage to the heart or its valves can reduce that pumping power, forcing the heart to work harder just to keep up with the body's demand for blood'. Oh, and a good belly laugh can increase the flow of blood throughout your body by 20pc'.

"Statistics Sir"' ventured Brian. "Sure Benjamin Disraeli was only saying this morning in English history class that there are three types of lies. Lies. Damn lies. And statistics."

"Is that right Brian?"

"It is Sir".

"Well can you tell me about the heart then, Brian. Enlighten us all."

"Well Sir, it's a complex thing as a whole, but individually, when everything is working well to serve everything else around it as best as possible, it's actually straightforward.

"The numbers and the stats you're clinging to for understanding illuminate, but they don't define. It's an immeasurable measurable, Sir. You see, the one thing that stands out about it is it's genuineness. Once each part understands the simplicity of its role, it functions to create something greater than the sum of the different parts. Words became ineffective at some point to really encapsulate the combination of billions of subtle movements I'm trying to describe. So I'll accept that fact and move on.

"Now the spirit is in there too. The original reason for any movement at all. And if that's not good then everything breaks down. As you said yourself Sir, if there's damage done to one part of the heart, every other must work harder to meet the constant demand of excellence. But when the spirit is good, everything works together. There isn't undue pressure in any of the parts you named, even the biggest parts. In fact inferior and superior is a misnomer. Without the inferior, the superior is about as much use as a Gaelic football in Kilkenny.

"And, Sir, for the record, when all of these things are working together, no matter what test comes from the outside, if the spirit is strong, the heart will function and you'll put up the greatest fight you can. And there's no shame whatsoever in coming out on the losing side of a battle like that."

"Well Brian. . . thank you."

Irish Independent

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