Life at Home at 28

I remember one particular cinema trip with the lads. I was 19 and a first year college student living many miles from home in the sunny south of Waterford City. We went to see Step Brothers, the (at the time) hilarious story of two 40 year old strangers, both happily living at home until their parents decide to tie the knot and move in together. However, as time goes on (9 years to be precise), I find that scenario less amusing. I’m now 28, still living at home and with no prospect of moving for at least another 2 years or so. Now, living at home at 40 doesn’t seem so funny. It’s still slightly a humorous prospect, but there is a nightmarish feeling lurking around that it actually could happen. Almost similar to the time you found yourself saying “Ha, Donald Trump, running for President?”.

 

Renting in Ireland has become absolutely ridiculous AND PRICES ARE STILL RISING. No sooner than yesterday, I heard that there was another 2% increase in renting prices nationally. How the feck??? It currently costs around €1,200 per month to rent a claustrophobic two bed apartment in….Drogheda (I do actually think that Drogheda is a nice place to live TBF, but just not ‘€1200 per month’ nice).

Anyway, the good news for me is that I am one of the lucky ones. I work close to home, my parents are sound and my bedroom has yet to be turned into a gym or a ‘lets just pile the Christmas shit in here’ room.

Still, it’s not all roses. Living at home at 28 is great on one hand, but it can be very challenging on the other.

 

Positive: Living rent free (or as good as) in a house that you could never afford.

On hot summers days like these, I would rather be nowhere else than out in the perfectly constructed family back garden. Coffee in one hand, and a book in the other, while constantly reminding myself that this is the life!!

Compare this to paying above the odds for a 3rd floor apartment where if you are lucky, you might be allowed share the public shadowy grass space with your neighbours bin, a dog and an old bronze woman who leaves little to the imagination.

Negative: “Are you free for an hour?”

This question comes in many forms. “Are you free for an hour?” “What way are you working next Friday morning?” “Do you have much on tomorrow?” etc etc…

If ever you hear any of these questions at home, the key is to cause a distraction, like drop a glass on the floor, and in the time it takes you to clean it up, come up with a good impenetrable answer. “Ah sorry Dad, I’ve been asked to help build homeless shelters in Cork so I won’t be around for a week or so.”

Of course you could just take a chance and say yes. Maybe you’ll only be asked to help lift some things into the attic. But you could be asked to paint the house, or worse still, to go to the bottle bank. Would you take that chance? Me neither.

Positive: Nieces and Nephews.

Living at home means you spend a lot of time with your nieces and nephews. It really is a win-win in our house, because while my brother or sister drop the kids off for some free babysitting, I get to be dragged back to earth and reminded of what the most important things in life really are; ‘Tag’ and ‘What Time is it Mr. Wolf?’

Although it is very important to lay down some babysitting ground rules straight away: Entertaining and Games ,YES. Nappy changing , NO. And so forth.

Negative: Nieces and Nephews.

Nothing dents your confidence as much as a 5 year old telling you where to go, because she’s watching Paw Patrol and doesn’t give a shit what championship final is on the telly.

On more than one occasion I found myself about to run into my mam to tell on the kids, only to spot myself passing in the mirror and think “BRIAN, you’re a grown man, cop on to yourself!”

 

Positive: A free education classic sayings

Ever find yourself saying something that you believe to be perfect English only for your friend to say “err, what was that?”

Some of these I have taken on automatically even though they make no sense at all. For example, “He came in at half-time and gave us “down the glen” about our passing“. (If anyone has ever heard of this “down the glen” malarky I would love to hear from you.) But there are others that I love and I actively try to make them part of my everyday vocabulary like; “Don’t mind him, he wouldn’t know if a ball was pumped or stuffed.” Classic!

 

 

Negative: Being the technology expert.

I do not claim to know much about technology. However, I do know;

  • How to change the source on the TV
  • How to add an attachment to an email
  • How to connect to WIFI on a mobile phone
  • What WIFI is
  • How come this charger doesn’t work with that phone

And so on….

In which case, I am a technology expert in this house whether I like it or not.

Positive: The magical clothes washing fairies

Dirty clothes go in here, clean clothes reappear here (along with my dad’s socks for some reason).

Negative: News Tragedy on the hour.

Whisht!! The news.” This is something that I presume is common in almost every household in Ireland. Are we the only country who purposely seek out bad news and tragedy at an hourly rate? I know it might sound insensitive, but it is very difficult to have a happy morning when you’re being forced to listen to murder, crashes, bombs, corruption, war and oh, Mary the Camel had a baby at Dublin Zoo. Ah well then, today is gonna be great, good woman Mary!

The Positives and Negatives of Dinner

Of course having a personal experienced cook live under the same roof as you is blatantly positive. But there are a few things to be aware of:

  1. You’ll never have a guilt free take-away ever again – “How much did that cost you?….Is there something wrong with my chicken casserole?
  2. The panic you create when you arrive home unexpectedly – “Ah feck, there’s nothing to eat… Have you had something?.. What will I make?...There’s only beans here…” “It’s grand Mam, I’m not seven I know how to make my own dinner order an Indian
  3. What do you mean you’re not sure what time you’ll be home for dinner?” (Get used to that one)
  4. You’ll only be lying to yourself by saying that you’re going to start Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals. In the last 2 months alone, I’d say I have thrown out about €180 worth of spinach, kale and other vegetables that I cannot spell, never mind cook.
  5. You will gain weight. It’s a thing with Irish Mams. They see every child as a challenge. “How fat can I make this one?” Did you ever want to know the secret of why your Mam’s cooking is the best??? Butter, and lots of it.

Negative: Death notices

“Ah Jaysis, I wonder if that’s one of the McGinnity’s who used to own the shop above?”

Positive:  Sweets and biscuits treasure hunt

If you’re living at home, and you’re told that there is no biscuits/chocolate/sweets in the house, DO NOT accept it. It is a lie. There is always an emergency supply somewhere. It’s hard to rival the joy of finding a packet of penguin bars hidden inside an empty bag of peas at the bottom of the freezer (true story).

 

Of course the positives of living at home outweigh the negatives. We just have to remind ourselves of this from time to time.  I often think of many of my friends who have been forced to live as far away as Australia and New Zealand to find work and an affordable living. What would they give to get to see their families on a daily basis?

So if you’re like me and you find yourself living at home a wee bit later than you expected, try not to take the positives for granted so much. Think about them and be grateful of them. And next time you’re getting threatened with no cake unless you tidy your room, remember to think “fuck it, free cake tastes the same at 28 as it did when I was 14.”

Wellness for Lent

Lent. Do you have to be religious to enjoy lent? I don’t think so, it’s like Christmas. It’s nice to find excuses in our lives to treat ourselves a bit better than normally. So why not use lent, Christmas, Easter holidays or whatever else as a little trigger to be better, to be happier. (Incidentally, this time of the year is probably when I am most religious, but for very different reasons.). But anyway, I am going to celebrate lent again this year. I am not going to feel hypocritical about it, and I’m hopefully gonna come out the other side an even happier and healthier human.Surely that’s what the big fella up there wants anyway?!?!

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For me, this lent is not going to be about sacrifice. Fuck it, let’s face it, once I get a taste for pancakes today, they are going to feature a lot in my diet over the next 3-4 weeks. So if you’re like me and you’re genuinely not capable of giving up sweets, chocolate, crisps, roller-blading or anything else that you enjoy…don’t even try. Take the clever way out and take up something instead. That’s what I’m doing, I’m taking up better wellness.

Wellness. What actually is it?
Now I hate using definitions but sometimes they are necessary. The World Health Organisation basically say that wellness is the awareness and active process in the pursuit of health. And health, they now say is no longer just the absence of disease or infirmity, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. But for the sake of my own wellness and health, I am throwing another dimension in there. Spiritual wellness. (At this point try not to freak out. I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness and I didn’t find Jesus, spiritual wellness is not exactly what it says on the tin).

My own personal wellness can be described pretty easily using this iceberg image:

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Wellness is very important to me. When I close my eyes and try to visualise what I want my life to be like, I see myself sitting like a Buddha, watching the sea, drinking tea with friends. However the reality is me sitting on my own, with panda eyes and popcorn bits all over my jumper gazing at Tony Soprano for the 4th consecutive hour. Just like in this picture, I have healthy values and beliefs, but very unhealthy behaviours (a bit like Tony himself actually)… But not for long!!!

Here are my four steps to better wellness this lent by touching on the four most important dimensions IMO. It’s also important to note that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to increasing our wellness. Everybody should approach their wellness in their own way. But do consider these four goals and have a think about how you might tailor them for you.
Spiritual Wellness. This is the one that I have been struggling to even grasp. It could be just because of the word spiritual. I need to disconnect that word from religion or God. Being spiritual is something different. It can be just doing nothing. Have you ever realised how feckin difficult it is to do nothing? You should try it. For me I get uncomfortable when I am alone with my thoughts, so in one sweeping movement I reach for my phone, dial in my password, tap on the Twitter icon, refresh my feed and ahhh I’m safe again. I become like a child in a hypnotic state watching Peppa Pig. Paul O’Connell, Jennifer Lawrence and Sloth from The Goonies could walk into the room and still I could be in my own little Twitter world and not even pay any heed to them.

ANYWAY…. This is something that I must change for the better and I have decided to change it through mindfulness/meditation (guess what? they are the same thing). (And also guess what? Every professional sportsperson or performer in their right mind practices mindfulness, so get over it.) To help me achieve this goal, I am drawing on inspiration from a public figure that I’ve always looked up to. Niall Breslin. Niall and Co. have set up a great social enterprise called A Lust for Life, a national movement for wellbeing. As part of this social enterprise, Fiona O’Donnell, a Psychology Master and Mindfulness Teacher has produced a 4 week introduction to mindfulness online course for us to follow. With daily meditations and 4 interesting blogs to accompany them , I believe that this is the easiest way for me to be introduced to the practice of mindfulness.

Side note.. What I really like about this is that Fiona has a lovely neutral Irish accent that is easy to listen to and relax to. Whenever I try guided meditation and I hear an American accent, I last about 20-30 seconds.. I don’t know why, and I cannot explain it. Maybe it is just a barrier in my own head for some reason, but it is the truth. Sorry America.

Physical Wellness. Okay, fuck it (I’ve just read Sarah Knight’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck’, so I would apologise for the bad language but I wouldn’t mean it). As I was saying, fuck it, I have to give credit where credit is due. My physical fitness is very good.
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I can run faster and further than most people I know BUT I cannot touch my toes, I never could..  Therefore if I want my good physical health to last, it’s time for me to start some maintenance. I do not want to be one of these people who has to huff and puff when picking myself out of a chair. This lent I am persisting with yoga. My goal is to go to at least one class a week, but also to follow a free online 30 day yoga for men challenge that looks perfectly achievable for a beginner like me. The videos are literally 10-15 minutes long, how hard could it be?

If you are planning similar challenges but feel like you need a more exercise centred approach to your physical wellness, make sure you find the right exercise for you. Find one that you will enjoy and wish to continue. Click here for a link to a previous blog on the most important things to consider when deciding on what is the best exercise for you.

Social Wellness. This is a prime example of how each of our own approaches should be different. There is no two people who have the exact same amount of social competence, friends and networks. We all need to look at our own social wellness in different ways. For me, I have a more intimate relationship with my phone than I do with any of my friends (and that’s social intimacy for any scoundrels out there). The same can be said for my laptop and even my TV. I would say that I spend significantly more time looking at a TV screen than I do at other people. That’s kind of sad isn’t it?

So friends, this is where you start locking your doors and closing your blinds, because Brian is calling around for a cup of tea and a chat! This is not only a lent thing either, I hope that this is a foreseeable future personal intervention. From this day forward, I plan to spend more time with humans, than I do with technology. And that includes my technology based mindfulness and yoga course over lent….. I wonder if I could log my time and actually measure it? Or would my friends then think I was just using them to put in the time?? Maybe I won’t log it so….

Mental Wellness. I’ve saved this for last because I want to point out that even by leaving it there and just doing the 3 challenges above, I will see a spike in my serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin levels, so effectively I am absolutely developing a positive mental health…. This brings me along to the last challenge rather nicely because, if like me, you didn’t understand a word that I just typed there. I have the thing for you….and me.

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The Science of Happiness is a free 8 week online course. (fucking more technology!! Actually scrap that 3rd one and I’ll come up with something else) It is developed by Berkely University California, so it must be good. I was introduced to it by the coolest Scotswoman you’d ever meet named Zoe while on a Wellness training course in Czech Republic a few months back. She really sold it to us, even more so than they sell it here  in their ‘wee’ promo video (and now I’m typing with a Scottish accent in my head). I have decided to enroll in this course and yes I know it’s 8 weeks long and Jesus only gave up sweets for 40 days, but sometimes you gotta push your boundaries. So the whole idea is, as they say in the video, that by understanding the science behind that 40% of what makes us happy, we are more likely to practice those things aaaaaand…be happier!!! :).

Thank you for reading again, I hope you liked it. If you did, I will be posting a follow up blog after lent to let you know how I got on and to see how well…er?? I am.. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to make myself sick with pancakes… Adios.

 

Pushing Them Away – GAA Dropout Rates

Dropout rates from teenage years into young adulthood are common among nearly all sports. During this time young people leave school and go to college. They leave age limited sports and join the free-for-all adult sports. They may feel intimidated, or even scared (I can safely say that I was shitting myself at 16 trying to train alongside fully grown men).But like so many others, I told myself to “hang on in there for a couple of years, once I reach my 20s I’ll be fine”. And for most sports, that is true. If you continue to play until you are 20/21, then you are likely to continue through until your 30s.

But Gaelic Games is different.

Having endured the difficult period moving from a teenager through to a young adult. There is then almost a 75% drop off rate between the ages of 21 and 26 in Gaelic Football (60% in Hurling/Camogie). (ESRI, 2013)

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Only one 21yr old footballer out of four will still be playing at 26

What are we as a GAA community putting young players through that forces them to stop playing before they reach their prime age? Is this trend reversible, or will we forever lose out to our soccer and rugby counterparts?

 

This Seasons’ Rules

“First comes family, then comes work, and then it’s the team. DOES ANYONE DISAGREE??”

External me; “NO”. Internal me; “YES, I completely disagree”.  But if you voice that true opinion, you’re perceived as weak and unwilling to put in the work.

Around about now, all over the country, club GAA players are been told the conditions of their GAA participation for 2017. Some are fine, and seek only to benefit you and your team. But others are detrimental, and serve no purpose, apart from taking the enjoyment out of the games that we love.

By now I am sure that most of you have seen this:

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Dublin club St. Brigid’s Player/Coach Contract 2017

 

This is not an attack at this club in particular as I would guess that at least 20% of all clubs in the country will produce similar contracts sometime this month. And it’s not even a dig at the terms of the contract. Looking at the contract, I would probably set most of those standards for myself to meet as a committed club player. The only difference is, I feckin choose to meet them. I’m not forced to. How anyone can justify asking an amateur, non-elite athlete to sign a contract like this in the first place is beyond me.

Is it worth it?

‘Keeping Them in the Game’ is an ESRI report for the Irish Sports Council (now Sport Ireland), on the taking up and dropping out of sport and exercise in Ireland. Produced in 2013, it paints a bad picture of the dropout rates of GAA compared to soccer.

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Participation drop off in GAA compared to Soccer (ESRI, 2013)

Of course there are similarities in both sports. Like that huge decline in players as they move from underage games into adulthood (a story for another day). However the most striking difference is how soccer retains participants from 21yrs to 26yrs, while GAA participation is quashed by up to 75% during the same period. Why?

I believe that it is during this time that GAA players are saying to themselves “Is it worth it??” And for the majority of them, the answer is no. While for the rest of us, we’re either really motivated to continue or we’re entrapped in the game and we cannot walk away.

Uni-Dimensional Identities

One such reason for a player to leave sport is through the theory of uni-dimensional identity. Jay Coakley, one of the top researchers of athlete burnout, talks about the importance of avoiding a uni-dimensional identity among young sports people. He talks about how detrimental it can be to be known as ‘Brian the Footballer’. Ideally, young athletes should be developing many identities (outside of sport) to aid their social development. Unfortunately, being heavily involved and focussed on sport can sometimes be a disservice to a young person’s development. When this happens, it leads young people to question their participation, like I did.

Since studying about this uni-dimensional identity, I started to wonder about my own identity. Where would I be if I didn’t play GAA? What if I wasn’t forced strongly discouraged out of going to Boston on that J1? What if I had the time to volunteer more..travel more..work more…. However, after much consideration, I do still believe that the pros outway the cons in my own case and I am glad of my time spent in GAA. But I do fully understand any player who says “fuck it, I’m gone”. I understand it even more when they feel like they are entering into a rigid regime like St. Brigid’s seems to be. Because in a regime like that, you are faced with two options:

Option 1 – GAA

or

Option 2 – Travel, study, play an instrument, more time with friends, more job opportunities, more time to myself,more control… etc etc etc…

 

Maladaptive Motivation

I have a wish for GAA club development that every manager must undertake some training in sports psychology. That every manager must make themselves familiar with the foundations of motivation and how it works. If this was the case then managers would know that forcing (through social pressure or otherwise) players to sign a rigid contract like the one highlighted above is actually counter productive and encourages maladaptive extrinsic motivation as opposed to the healthier intrinsic motivation. If my wish came through then players would be encouraged to play because they want to, not because they have to. THANKFULLY we will not have such problems in my own club this year judging on our new management team. But if this is a fear for you and your team, well then I genuinely feel sorry for you.

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If you are a manager or a coach reading this, then remember this one word, Autonomy. The easiest, most effective way to intrinsically motivate your team. By giving them autonomy. If you don’t believe me, check out Ken Hodge’s study  on the motivational climate of The ALL Blacks, the most successful sports team of all time IMO (even though they will not tackle fairly). The climate that Graham Henry and Wayne Smith create for their team is one that gives their players ownership and responsibility of how they perform. They created a dual-management model where there was a group of senior players who would meet to plan each week in advance. By doing this, managers are encouraging players to think for themselves. They are utilising the minds and ideas that exist within their group of players.  I guarantee that there is not one adult GAA team in the country who could not organise an effective training session or game-plan for themselves. So encourage it. Use all the resources available to you, including the years of experience that you see in front of you. And remember, it’s not the team who train the most that’ll have the best chance of success, it’s the team who train most intelligently.

Stand up and be counted

As a player, there are also many external factors that can also attribute to dropout rates within the GAA. Fixtures can be a nightmare and seasons can drag on for 12 months. But instead of worrying too much about those external factors that are difficult to control, look at your own club first. What can you do as a leader to encourage better practice? What can you do to encourage players to keep playing? Remember that this is your club as much as it is the managers or coaches, so encourage the changes. Instead of fantasising about the team you could have had, ensure that the team that you’re going to have in 5 years will full of 23, 24, and 25 year olds willing to play. Find out what it is that is discouraging participation in your club, and put a stop to it.

As a leader within my own team (I’ll probably regret writing that), I’m taking the responsibility of encouraging ‘fun and enjoyment’ as one of our primary goals for the season ahead. It’s time that we started to look forward to training and playing once again. Like we did when we were kids.

Here’s To A Better 2017

 

2016. Why was it such a bad year for me personally?

Here’s the easy answer:

The Refugee Crisis, Syria, Celebrity Deaths, Palestine, Donald Trump, Homelessness, Brexit, Car Insurance,TXFM, Rent and whatever else…

And if I continue to accept that as my answer. If all of these things caused me to have a bad year… Then I better get ready for a bad 2017, and a bad 2018,19,20,21….

Having said that, it would take somebody made of stone, not to be affected by some of the atrocities that happened in the last year. And I am not suggesting that we should try not to let them affect us. However, try not to let it engulf you with grief and worry like it did to so many of us in 2016. Instead, let’s look at the images, listen to news, read the stories and try to let them inspire us to make our contribution for positive change in 2017. Do what we can do, don’t worry about what we cannot do.

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I’ve lost count of the times in 2016 that I read something on Twitter or heard something on the radio and I let it ruin my day. I would be with my friends or family thinking “how can I be sitting here enjoying myself when I know that right now in Damascus there are bombs dropping on innocent people.” And what help was I by thinking like this? Absolutely no help! So this piece that I am writing is primarily for me, to challenge myself in 2017. But I hope that you read it too, and that it challenges some of your own views and behaviours going into this new year.

‘Irish Guilt’

I recently spent time on a wonderful Youth Work training course by Erasmus+ called Game of Wellness in Brno, Czech Republic. I was one of 3 Irish participants. While discussing the topic of mental health with the group, it was pointed out to us (the Irish), that we talked a lot about guilt. And, how participants from other countries have heard of and used the term ‘Irish Guilt’… It was the first I heard of it, but it got me thinking “shit, we always feel guilty of something.” Maybe it is in our upbringing, “Eat your peas!! There’s starving children in Africa!!” But it is true, think about it. As an Irish person, if I won the lotto, I would be delighted, ecstatic, joyous… but also guilt ridden… “Here’s me going off on my yacht, while my third cousin Barry can’t even afford car insurance. I better try to have less fun for his sake.”

So maybe 2017 is a year for us to leave the guilt behind. Maybe 2017 we start to create change because we have something to offer, not because we feel guilty if we don’t. Like, is donating 2 pounds a month to Trocaire because you saw an ad on telly the most effective way for you to challenge starvation in the world? Is it? Is it really? If it is, then ok. But for me anyway, there are definitely better ways.

 


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How We Can Create Positive Change

Volunteer more in 2017. It’s probably unrealistic to think that we can just leave our jobs and start a new career working for an amazing NGO. However, it is not unrealistic to think that we can all find the time to give something back. Give our time for the positivity it can bring, not just because we’re getting paid. Whether it is sharing your financial expertise with a local charity at a board meeting once a month, or even just lending a helping hand to your kids sports club on a Saturday, not only will it make you feel better, but your contribution will be highly valued and appreciated. Look up the volunteering opportunities for you local area on http://www.volunteer.ie/ for some ideas on how you can contribute more this year.

Meaningful Donating. Throwing money at things and hoping that they go away is definitely not the answer. However, it can still be helpful to the right causes. If you have got extra cash, that you don’t particularly need or want, you can donate. There are still many trustworthy charities out there that are in need of our support, (The Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontiéres, The White Helmets, Home Sweet Home, Frontline Defenders) just to name a few. But please don’t take my word for it. Look them up, find the charity that YOU trust and that YOU want to donate to before you give anything away.

Or better still, invest in education. Educate yourself on the issues that affect you in order to educate your friends, families and our future generations. It is my opinion that our formal education system has failed global and development education. This is through no fault of the professionals that work within it. It is to do with the society in which educators now need to prepare our young people for.  Finance, economic growth and consumerism are of a greater perceived value than peace, love and health. We need to help change this. We need to produce more Michael D’s in this world, not Michael O’Leary’s, more Bernie Sander’s not Donald Trump’s. And it is up to us as parents, anties, uncles, role models and teachers to set a proper example for the young people of Ireland.

I feel less guilty already…

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My hope is, that if I stick to this game plan for 2017, then at least I will have a better year. I cannot control whether or not there will be a world war 3. I cannot control what way Ireland will vote on a referendum. I cannot even control my favourite radio station of all time being taken off air. But I can control my own behaviours and actions as I try to contribute to making positive changes around me in 2017.

Thank you for reading and happy new year,

Brian 🙂

(Below are 3 links that I will be clicking on a lot more in this coming year)

https://www.salto-youth.net/tools/european-training-calendar/

http://www.volunteerlouth.ie/

http://www.developmentperspectives.ie/

Who would be a Goalkeeper?

After almost 160 minutes of football, Dublin and Mayo were finally separated, by a single point. It was the reigning champions and the bookies favourites who clung on for their lives after what were two of the highest intensified games of football that you will ever see. Both games had their moments of brilliance. Both games had moments of high temper. And surprisingly, both games had a high number of mistakes and unforced errors. However there was one mistake that grabbed all the headlines, that of Mayo’s net minder Rob Hennelly. After failing to hold on to a dropping, Rob made a lunge of desperation to stop Dublin’s Paddy Andrews. Only in doing so, he conceded a penalty for his side, and received a black card. And for this, we read:

“What it feels like to cost your team an All-Ireland.”

“Goalkeeper was subjected to online abuse after All-Ireland Final.”

“Hennelly call to haunt Mayo in winter of regret.”

So, who would be a goalkeeper?

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Whenever I read people’s opinions, blaming an entire team’s loss on one mistake by a goalkeeper, I just think that it is another case of bully analysing. “Who is the easiest target for me to direct my discontent at?” The answer is usually either, the free taker or in this case, the goalkeeper.

On Saturday, I actually imagined how a certain number of ‘keyboard warriors’ would find themselves torn up at the end of the game. Not knowing whether to subject their blame on Hennelly himself, or indeed Mayo’s marksman Cillian O’Connor after he failed to convert with his final effort to tie the game. What these people have to remember is that Gaelic Football is a game played by 15-20 players over a period of 70 minutes. There are going to be mistakes, there are going to be blunders and errors. But do not take the easy way out and blame one player for an entire team’s shortcomings. Goalkeepers and free-takers have had the courage to put their necks on the line for their club/county. And there are some, Rob Hennelly included, who will step up to do both if it is required of them.

What people need to remember is that goalkeeping in Gaelic Football is no longer just goalkeeping. It is the starting point of everything that happens on the field. No longer is a goalkeeper just expected to “boot it out” or “kill anything that comes into the square.” Now a goalkeeper must catch that dangerous ball that’s dropping in as to regain possession. Now a goalkeeper must pinpoint that gap between the full forward and the corner forward to find his corner back and start a new attack. With this, a goalkeeper is no longer just number one on the team sheet, but number one for responsibility too. It is time that we start to cut them that bit of extra slack that they deserve.

So, unlucky to Rob and Mayo last Saturday, I for one believe that they will be back. Especially if the rest of the team’s attitudes are anything like that of Rob Hennelly’s;

“I’ll never be able to fully describe what was going through my head at this moment. What I was expecting to be one of my best days turned out to be the opposite, and it breaks my heart that I didn’t come through for my team and county.

I told a brilliant young man Anthony Casey that that one game wouldn’t define him, and today, and probably for a while to come, I’ll be telling myself the same thing.  It is not a good place to be, but I know I have to come back from it, I still believe I have something to offer this team and my county, so now is not the time to relent.


I have to say that the support I’ve received has been incredible and the messages from friends, family, former team mates, players from other counties, and of course the Mayo supporters, has helped me immensely.


I don’t know where I’ll be in a years time, but I do know that I’m not going to give up. I love Mayo and this team too much to do that.”
Rob Hennelly, via Instagram.

 

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The Inside Out Approach to Fitness and Health

SDG3This is a short blog for Development Perspectives to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals Challenge that we are taking part in. This month we are focussing on Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), by partaking in the #HealthOlympics. I’ve decided to go one step further this month, and share some of my insights and experience in how to maintain good health and well-being through fitness. HOWEVER, if fitness is something that you don’t enjoy reading about, nevermind taking part in, well then this piece could be for you. This is not a blog trying to convince or motivate you to become fit, it’s just offering a different approach that you might not have thought of. The inside out approach.

Okay so, let’s start with a little experiment… When you think of the word ‘fitness’, what comes to mind???… Well, I think of health, movement, enjoyment and even nature, because that is what fitness is to me. However, if you think of it as something different, something more negative, I don’t blame you, because in my opinion, the idea of fitness has been hijacked. It’s been hijacked by people who use phrases like “gains” and “max reps” and “leg day” and “Thursday Throwback Transformations” or whatever the hell it is. For example, type “fitness” into Instagram and what do you see? You see these people.

Instagram Fitness

Now I’m not saying that these guys are wrong to use the word fitness for this because whether I like it or not, this is what fitness obviously means to them. But I am saying that it is wrong for you to simply accept that this is what fitness is. Because I know that if I was to simply believe that this is what fitness is, then it would be game over for me and my fitness!!

I’m asking you to think of fitness (or physical activity) as a tool that will help you feel better on the inside. For example, running on a treadmill might help you look better on the outside,  but will it make you feel better on the inside? If like me your answer is no, then running on a treadmill is not a tool that will work here. So take some time and discover the types of activities that you actually enjoy.

Think of badminton, kayaking, pitch and putt, tag rugby, trail walks, martial arts, swimming, hurling, table-tennis, cricket…the list goes on and on and on… Try them out. Be brazen and rock up to your local archery club on a Thursday evening. Go get your time at one of the many 5k park runs on a Saturday morning. Join a dog walking club. Keep looking!!! And eventually you will find the activity that is right for you. And once you do, you will begin to shape what the word fitness means to you.

The inside out approach is a much more enjoyable way of achieving good health and well-being through fitness. It’s basically  tells theories like ‘No Pain, No Gain’ to “piss off”. It says “Listen buddy, I’ll do what I want. I’ll deal with this my own way. A way that suits me”.

Take your time with your new approach and think of the long term health benefits. Don’t get frustrated if you cannot see any physical quick fixes. Instead, be mindful of how much better you’re beginning to feel on the inside. This way, you will enjoy the journey just as much as you enjoy the destination.

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It Matters More When There’s Money On It

Just a few thoughts for the week that is in it…

My name is Brian and I have a confession to make. I do not have a clue about horses or horse racing and even more so, I do not care about which rich man’s horse can go faster than the others… But what I do care about is how I feel like an outcast for not knowing or caring about this stuff.

So if you’re a genuine fan of horse racing, fair enough, call me a gobshite and don’t read on. But if you’re not (and don’t lie to yourself, you’re not), have a read and let me know what you think.

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Okay, so let’s talk motivation. What motivates you to gamble? It’s because you’re good at it, and you know how to make money from it. Yeah that must be…. eh actually, come to think of it, no, you’ve lost money. Maybe lots, maybe some. But the fact remains that you’re down a substantial amount of money since you’ve placed your first ever bet (so much that you’re nervous about adding up the amount up in your head right now). Come to think of it, in terms of things that you do in life, you’re pretty shit at this one. 

The funny thing about horse racing is, if you know about the game, you’re either in it, or they won’t let you in. Whereas if you THINK you know about it, then you’re the big fool that the bookies love to see coming.

So what is it that makes us fools want to throw our money away like this?

One of the key aspects of motivation is a thing called relatedness. Relatedness can be defined as a sense of shared experience. A sense of belonging. It’s powerful. As social creatures we want to belong and interact, and bookmakers know this. They have taken the importance we bare on relatedness and used it against us. Take Paddy Power and their ‘Free Clean Urine’ stunt at the Giro D’Italia… Hilarious stuff, but what it did was, it got us talking about them. It got us talking about gambling. It lured us in and said “lads how could something this funny be dangerous and chronic, sure gambling is just a bit of a laugh”. And they do this time and time again with their ingenious pranks, they kick start the gambling talk among us and our friends.

Think about it, this isn’t the first time this has happened to you. Think about that gym membership fee that you painfully handed over despite hating the very idea of going to a gym. Even just think about the clothes you wear and why you’re now wearing clothes that you wouldn’t be found dead in 5 years ago. It’s because society and your social circles are telling you that this is what you’re supposed to do now. This is Cheltenham week, and this week, we gamble.

Take any lads’ WhatsApp group, look at what came up over the last two days… Sit in the dressing room of any GAA team on Tuesday or Thursday evening, listen to the conversations… “I got Annie Power at 3/1 two days ago.” “I had a tenner on the fucker and he fell at the last.” These are the normal conversations of normal lads all this week. If these guys who I do everything with are all putting their money on horses, then it’s obvious that I should be doing the same…

But that’s where you have to stop yourself and remember some key facts. YOU ARE SHIT AT GAMBLING, you will lose your money.  When someone in the bookies mentions a green horse at 50/1 you think “a green horse??? Wow, I’ve never seen one before.” So stop pretending that you like this stuff. Go against the tide. Spend your hard earned money on something useful, like a fancy bun. That’s a way better idea.

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Ah the aul pen behind the ear trick… He must know what he’s at.

So a couple of messages to finish off.

To the person who denies that they haven’t got a clue. 2 things to remember. Number one, you sound like Jay from The Inbetweeners when you’re telling your success stories. And two, you’re not fooling any of us so please don’t fool yourself.

And to the person who admits that they’re crap at this. Good, once you know that you’re no good at it then you shouldn’t have a problem. But remember that it’s not cool to gamble, it just shows that you’re easily led. So if somebody asks you whether or not you “backed anyone today?” Don’t be afraid or ashamed to say “no I didn’t, grand day out isn’t it?” And take the conversation from there.

Thanks for reading. I’m off for a bun…