The GAA Seminar

13 Oct

Two weeks ago, I attended the GAA seminar with other students from the Program. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) is an organization that promotes Irish sports, such as hurling, Gaelic football, and handball. Each county in Ireland has their own team for each sport. Gaelic Football and Hurling are the most popular sports in Ireland, and have attracted athletes and fans across the countries that have shown immense pride.

When I entered Ireland last month I did not know any information regarding the GAA and their sports. I also did not know the amount of pride, teamwork, and difficulty that these sports provided for the Irish community. After spending one month here, I have finally begun to understand that these sports are not played casually. The matches are extremely competitive, and the athletes strive to win for their specified county. The athletes put forth an immense amount of practice and diligence. As an athlete, the Irish sports have given me a different perspective on competition and teamwork.

Hurling is a sport that consists of a ball and a wooden stick. The objective is for each team to try and score in the goal or inside the uprights by hitting the ball with the stick. After trying to play the sport at the seminar, I can admit that it is extremely difficult. The sport requires practice and persistence, as the athletes on each team need to balance the ball on the stick while running. Hurling is easily one of the most difficult sports I have ever attempted, and I am impressed with the Irish athletes who have perfected the sport.

Gaelic football, another popular sport in Ireland, is a mix between handball and soccer (football). Similar to hurling, Gaelic football has the task of scoring goals and kicking the ball through the uprights. In Gaelic football, the player is allowed to hold, kick, and dribble the ball. I found this sport to be much more enjoyable, and was much easier than hurling.

Overall, the GAA seminar was a memorable experience, and was worth attending. I now understand the GAA and their sports, and am looking forward to sharing with my family and friends back at home about them. Hopefully I can bring home Irish culture by incorporating hurling or Gaelic football with my friends. I hope that I am able to play these sports again before I leave for home in December.


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