Back in the late 1980s, I did a series of interviews with some top inter-county players where the central theme was how they saw the GAA and their role in it. Things were different then - players spoke their minds, rather than talking in stodgy platitudes.
Some examples: "Refereeing standards are awful - and getting worse" - Dinny Allen (Cork). He suggested the remedy was to establish an elite squad of professional refs.
"I know it may sound like heresy but I believe the time has come to have a separate Association to run hurling" - John Callinan (Clare).
"I believe it's high time to look at Galway's position and consider putting them into the Munster Championship again. It's unfair that they can wait for the Leinster and Munster counties to battle it out and then pounce in the All-Ireland semi-final" - George O'Connor (Wexford).
"GAA regards players as second-class citizens" - Liam Austin (Down). He also described football as "a sham", claiming the rules allowed for skills to be smothered by cynicism.
Austin, then one of the top midfielders in the game, also offered a strong opinion on underage activity and the pressures applied to children.
"It's pathetic (not to mention damaging) to have all sorts of competitive games for players aged nine or ten, with mentors and parents screaming from the sideline. Youngsters should be learning and perfecting the skills with as much enjoyment as possible."
Interestingly, it was an area of concern for O'Connor too.
"There is far too much emphasis on competition for U-14s and younger. Those years should be all about skills. Teach a young lad to hurl properly and he has it for life."
Thirty-three years later, consider this from a well-qualified coach.
"S&C (strength and conditioning) is important at an appropriate age. Adult-level S&C for children is something they don't need. S&C for them is climbing a tree. It's playing chasing. It's throwing stones in the river. S&C has crept in a little bit too young. There is a race to elitism too young in the GAA," Shane Smith said in an interview with Conor McKeon on Independent.ie recently.
Smith, a former player with Thomas Davis and now a coach with Kilmacud Crokes football team, holds an honours degree in sports science and health and a master's in primary education. He knows his subject and, in a lot of cases, he doesn't like what he sees and hears.
An U-10 girls coach looking for an S&C programme, an U-9 girls coach threatening to send home a group doing handstands and cartwheels, over half the players on an U-9 boys squad quitting because coaches were too intense and the coach of an U-11 girls team warning that they would have to undertake a beep test after a defeat are among the cases he offers as examples of how corrupted the thinking has become.
Those are hard cases in a wider picture where Smith says the GAA "is doing so much right" but he has genuine concerns about adult values and systems being imposed on youngsters, often by players who have just retired. And then there's the parental issue.
"In a lot of cases, it's the parents that want to win an awful lot more than the child does," he says.
We have all heard the horror stories of intolerable pressure (five-month, three-times a week training programmes for Féile squads) placed on young players, an intense process that inevitably leads to drop-out.
"Play isn't standing behind a cone waiting for your turn. Play is three-on-three. It's scoring goals. It's making catches," says Smith.
That was the message too from the likes of Austin, O'Connor and many others more than 30 years ago. Clearly, it wasn't heeded and, in all probability, it won't be now either.
We will continue to hear plenty about adult players opting out because of poor fixture-planning, but in all probability a whole lot more are drifting away much earlier because of oppressive training regimes that were never meant for children.
It's not right.