I woke up well rested and ready to take on my Sunday, with a slight thread of worry and anxiety flowing through me… I had committed to trying a new sport: Gaelic Football. The Irish girl who has been too kind as to show me around/invite me to things asked if I’d like to join her (for her first time as well) in an effort to meet people. I know attention spans are short so I’ll link to an explanation of the sport at the end of this post. If you haven’t heard of it before, think of it as a combination between Volleyball, Rugby, and Soccer.
Being a Soccer player and showing up to a field based game sans cleats felt embarrassing (they’re in a box in Texas). But, I could tell there were several other lads there who were new and in the same shoe situation as me, and we survived. Yes, I did just say “lads” as they kept on saying “alright lads let’s get out there” … assuming this comes from ladies? I have a lot of learning to do about the Irish slang.
The practice started at 10:00 AM with warm-ups and drills. At least I know how to do high knees and lunges. The ball rolling and high passing? Not so much, but I think I caught on alright. Then it was on to a passing drill where I learned how to hand pass (cue: Volleyball skills). Last, it was a couple of 9 vs. 9 matches on a full sized Soccer field. Talk about learning you’re out of shape at the wrong time.
All in all, I invested two hours of my Sunday to something that from the outside looked intimidating, and in reality was a blast! The group of about 40 women was so welcoming of a rookie Canadian player and offered tips and pointers the whole time. The practice was followed by lunch with at least half of them at one of the Irish pubs on the Island.
Side note: Over lunch, I also learned that cheese and onion crisps (chips) were invented in Ireland. Yum!
Most of our friends at the office were skeptical of our desire to play, but I think we held our own (and it helps that it is a fun league, not too intense!). We didn’t get sunburnt, pass out, or get heatstroke. We got a great workout in, met some lovely people, and picked up a new skill (sort of…might need to attend a few more practices).
Here’s to always saying yes to trying new things and meeting new people, even when you are afraid to embarrass yourself in front of them.
Slainte, and Carpe Diem.
PS: For those who are interested, here is a quick overview of Gaelic Football. Link found and provided by Ryley.