Sports and the Irish

Today, or was it yesterday, the Olympic Flame arrived here in the Republic. Why it’s here at all I’m uncertain since the Games are being held in London. But here it is. And Oh Boy is it doing the rounds with every half-baked celeb’ and medalists from previous games through far more places than truly decent.

We in Ireland are sporty. This not to be mistaken for the English usage of the term with lass or gal, added. We are sporty as in fanatical. We leave the place just a few years ago and we take up games that simply couldn’t occur here, and not just play, but excel. There are sayings that Africans and ice don’t mix. But where the hell did the Irish get so good that they could field from the current draft in the Stanley Cup about four good teams at least. The only game in the US that we’re not cutting a proper dash is basketball and that’s only a matter of time since the girls are busy at the moment breeding for tall. Surfing and skiing wouldn’t be the first thing you’d think Irish but for some unknown reason once we get to a snow-covered hill we turn into redheaded freckly Swiss and the surfing was developed by an Irish lad.

There are a few sports that we don’t seem to play. Fencing was one but the guys and gals at Notre Dame are on that. And ’til very lately Cricket wasn’t one of ours, but that’s been taken care of also.

Myself, I was never what you’d call dedicated to sports due to health issues. This was not to say I didn’t do sports I very much did. But I did athletics and I was quite good at sprints and the long jump. Sports that didn’t need that much puff. Team sports I could never sustain for after about five minuets I would feel like I was drowning. It’s only been very lately that I can sustain a 40 mile bike ride. But I could walk to Cape Town. Odd that.

Now I consider many things sport that others wouldn’t. Synchronized diving is I believe quite hard for not only have you to give a perfect jump but this has to match the fellow alongside you. That has to be hard. Even the synchronized swimming I expect is difficult. And table tennis is far more fun to watch than the lawn version. Vicious little weasels. And canoeing, now that’s something. Golf, No. No no no no. This isn’t sport for the Olympics. You may as well add horse racing then. Ditto rugby.Β  Water-polo, for heavens sakes, that’s just an error. And I’m far from certain the chick with the tape should be part of the opening ceremony. As a man, anything with gunfire and arrows is good, phssssve, buuuuuut, no, not a sport.

Powerboating, will someone hand me a sick bag. Talk about a hobby for rich shits. Chess, as much as I like it, is not a sport. Mountaineering, well maybe, but I doubt it. While orienteering, why ?, when everyone and his mother has a satnav. Why the heck are we not sending a bunch of boats out with nothing other than a log and a sextant then. And the luge, you cannot but admire a lass that hurtled down a shoot at 90mph two inches above the surface on a tea-tray.

Recently I heard that the ‘sport’ of cheerleading was attempting to get the nod from the IOC. Well what next. Why not ballet. Or even poledancing. Now that’s a one that has a huge following. And not in the way you’d think either.

There around Easter I was visiting people for a, well soiree. -I don’t know what else to call it.- Anyhow we about thirty of us were downstairs in a tiger mansion. A large area extended from a family room towards full length french doors. The ceiling was the same level but there was a drop down four steps into what could only be called a mini-ballroom. Towards the back but in the middle was a stainless steel pole looking for all the world like it was part of the room supports. But no, later in the evening we were treated to an exhibition with the wife and daughters gymnastic-ing on the thing. I was uncertain, but it seems that it was/is all the rage. And without a doubt impressive.

I was standing beside a woman I vaguely knew. At a point when one of the girls had grip of the pole about mid-thigh and was table flat horizontal, slowly descending down the fifteen feet with a slight rotation, she half turned and murmured ‘ I’d be real impressed if she could go up it like that’.Β  I darn near choked as did everyone in earshot.

I’m looking forward to London 2012

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23 Responses to Sports and the Irish

  1. Ed says:

    Over here in the US they have pole dancing classes as a form of exercise. I believe they even have a national competition too… with proper clothing.

    • Vince says:

      Yeah, proper clothing. The outfits i saw weren’t exactly Victorian, I would have put more on them with a spray-gun.

  2. Kelly says:

    This was quite entertaining and I’m still laughing from several comments you made starting with breeding your girls for height. Yes, the pole dancing business is quite the rage over here. I guess it’s kind of like the belly dancing that was so popular some 30 years ago.

    I have a friend who always claims her favorite spectator sport is “dog shows” (ie, Westminster Kennel Club, etc.).

    As for the cheerleading, my older daughter was one along about the time they were starting to make the switch from just being the bouncy rah-rah types to the ones with the intricate routines that require real gymnastic abilities. In fact, that’s what it reminds me of these days – group gymnastics.

    • Vince says:

      Yeah, odd that, the belly dancing-poledancing juxtaposition. No pun intended, or double entente.

      I read the dog-shows are a bit of a bloodsport with the owners, not so much the pooches.

      Do you think it is a sport though, the cheerleading.

      • Kelly says:

        I’ll admit I’ve always scoffed a bit at the whole cheerleading business, but in reality it does require more athletic ability than many other “sports” out there.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Wait, a mom and her two daughters pole danced for their guests at a party? That’s pretty funny and maybe a little odd.
    The Kings are one game away from being Stanley Cup champs, hopefully tonight – and I can hardly stand it! No native Irishmen on the roster yet though. πŸ™‚
    I’m looking forward to the Olympics as well. We were spoiled in ’84 when they were in my backyard. The television coverage was great so we rarely missed an event. When they are several time zones away, I haven’t found the coverage as good. It’s hit and miss on whether we get to see an event from start to finish – the highlight reel is more the norm. I’m looking forward to the equestrian, gymnastic, and swimming events most. I used to like watching Olympic basketball, but now it’s like watching any another NBA game – I see enough of Kobe Bryant as it is.
    Since you’re so close, will you catch an event in London or enjoy the games from home?

    • Vince says:

      HA, have you seen this
      it’s a mother and her two kids. Listen to the words and the disconnect is just unbelievable. I don’t know how many at the party got the connection to other aspects and areas that the pole is used. But for certain the mother didn’t. It really was just extreme gym to them. And they were very good. Also they were all adults so well ‘live and let live’. Or as we say sometimes ‘whatever butters your spuds’. But I don’t care there is a certain ‘the emperors clothes’ about all this.

      The equestrian can be fun. Like at Athens, the horses weren’t accustomed to the plants or the flurry’s of wind so any that were a tad high-strung were likely to toss the rider. So you had bigboned blokes stiff of the seat with knees riveted attempting to manage take-offs and strides. I doubt ’twill be as good in London.

      Nah, there would be no point going over. Unless you had both tickets and a place to stay. And now everyone I know has someone/many on floors. And the security is nuts as well, you’d not get near without a ticket.

  4. Rebecca S. says:

    I really don’t see the point of Olympic basketball either, if it involves professional athletes who make millions already. The same goes for any sport – I do think the Olympics were better when they were only for amateur athletes. Cheerleading? Ummmm…I think not.
    Pole dancing, I’m sure is excellent exercise, but you wouldn’t catch me doing it, least of all at a party with my daughters! I’ll stick to running, thanks πŸ˜‰
    I am looking forward to the Olympics. Yes, I get ‘the fever’. It’s just terribly exciting to watch all those amazing athletes go for it.
    By the way, I have trouble understanding why Poker is now considered good t.v. Ugh!

    • Vince says:

      Hmm, but the way things are going professional and amateur has a lot of blur.

  5. Michele says:

    My Irish lads are more sports mad from the sofa. Love the comment about breeding for height. I’ve said for years that I breed geeks. Turns out I was right.

    • Vince says:

      Ha, that counts. Sofa support is a valid participation. Geeks this generation Height and geeks next.

  6. Crystal says:

    Very funny story about going up the same way she slid earthbound. I let out an audible “HA!”. I would have loved to be there and witness the whole thing.

    I wonder what the father of the household thought of all that. My daughters and I would perform on a pole over my husband’s dead body. πŸ™‚

    Great post.

    I’ve never been a team sport type of girl. I was a dancer. Now I run and lift weights. No team necessary.

    • Vince says:

      Hmmm, there must have been discussion beforehand for it was quite choreographed in how they moved us into that region of the rooms. They weren’t all standing waiting for their go on the thing with one leg leading the other. It was a one in one out kinda thing. A bit like we were expected to produce a line of 5;4. 5;7. 5;3. 5;9. 6;0. for a floor routine. And they were in this get-up as well.

  7. sage says:

    I’m thinking about moving to Ireland and becoming a professional pole-dancer judge… Are there any openings?

    btw, I just found out this week there is competitive collegiate mountain biking… And Brevard College in the mountains of NC is the champ.

    • Vince says:

      Do you speak or at the very least write Irish/Gaelic. If not you’ll be a the rear of a very long queue.

      Aye, that would be a good sport right enough. It’s somewhat like kayak slalom. My problem with it is that there is huge damage done to hills and mountains by those idiots traversing delicate alpine flora. But if they stay on the trails all’s to the good.
      Oh, you’ve heard of the Monroe’s, yes. Well what with the hundreds of thousands schlepping up those near the towns cities and by rail stations they are having to resurface with helicopters to prevent erosion that even the ruddy icecap didn’t do. It’s the same down in the Lake District and Wales.

    • Vince says:

      p.s. isn’t Assistant Professor of Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education something of an oxymoron.

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