GAA Mobile Seminar

3 Dec

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Walking into the Parnell Park, I had my reservations. I have never been one for sports but I figured that it is worth it if I am to truly appreciate the “culture iceberg” that so many people told us about before we left. Essentially the culture iceberg shows that many things about our culture that we take for granted. So here I am in a sports stadium of all places looking to further deepen my cultural perspective. The Mobile Seminar began with a PowerPoint presentation about the Gaelic Athletic Association’s mission and what they “govern” in terms of the Irish sporting world; Gaelic football and hurling. This was the first thing that struck me as odd, I had always thought that the GAA worked with all the sports in Ireland, however, I had my suspicions after my Irish Life & Cultures teacher had spoken about the events of Croke Park in 2007 where the ban on playing soccer and rugby was lifted. Following the presentation I got to have another go at hurling as well as Gaelic football. Having had some practice with hurling I was excited to get a little bit better, except it was a little hard to get into the game since the GAA of all places did not have enough helmets for everybody. Gaelic football in the other hand was far more fun, as I was never good at soccer because I would always touch the ball with my hands; Gaelic football came easy, as it was basically soccer where I can touch the ball. I walked away actually looking forward to the next hurling match that Dublin would play in. I realized that day that the cead mile failte mentality that is so important to the Irish culture, the welcoming power of the Irish community, permeates the GAA as well. The GAA does not actually have any “professional” players in the association, anybody can join and all that is required is that they join a GAA club. GAA clubs pop up across the globe and it is all driven by people find commonalities in the Gaelic traditions of old, ones that have been played with legitimate sticks in the early days of the game. These deep roots always seem to take me by surprise, be them in the bi-lingual signage or the GAA clubs found in New York or Boston, I am always in awe of how powerful these connections are between the Irish people. 

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