Lessons learned from a (long) week in sports.
The time is always right to do the right thing: Martin Luther King was talking about far weightier topics, but however belatedly, the GAA is doing the right thing now.
That said, Moynihan’s Fourth Law of Management still holds true: Whenever you have a meeting deliberating on a serious decision, move heaven and earth to get a ten-year-old child into the room in order to point out the obvious.
In the running for inclusion as the Fifth Law: Whenever you release a statement late on a Friday afternoon, it’s never a good look. So it proved for the GAA last week.
Also, social media is a window into some souls that should really stay shuttered. You probably had that worked out a long time ago, but quite a few people revealed an anger towards the GAA last week that had nothing to do with the Liam Miller game and everything to do with their own issues. Serenity now!
Old-fashioned work still has its place.
This columnist understands that pressure was brought to bear on Croke Park by senior ministers in government, MEPs and senators to point the GAA towards an accommodation.
Which was possibly a bit more effective than misspelling invective on a smartphone.
A point for the GAA itself at the highest level: Is it time for a full re-examination of the GAA’s rulebook by a couple of experts such as Jack Anderson and Tim O’Connor?
And when I say re-examination, I don’t mean a parsing of the paragraphs for loopholes to help some player duck out of a deserved suspension; rather, the creation of a real 21st century template for a large-scale sporting organisation. Maybe a redrafting of Rule 5.1a as a first step.
A point for the GAA at a more local level. I’d imagine that the Miller family really enjoyed the thousands of references to Liam over the last week, by which I mean they could probably have done without the whole brouhaha. It would be nice to have a big deal made out of their presence in Páirc Uí Chaoimh when this event is, as expected, eventually sanctioned. A nice presentation would be the least I’d expect.
Another point for the GAA at a local level. To think that a couple of weeks ago the state of Cork football was the toughest interview question facing those applying for the post of chief executive/county secretary for the Cork County Board. The closing date for applications for that role closed last Friday, and the position can’t be filled quickly enough. The leadership deficit on Leeside meant Cork’s lack of a front man (or woman) to either articulate its position or work towards an accommodation was notable from the outset.
Finally (for now), Páirc Uí Chaoimh still needs branding.
More than one observer has suggested lining the corridors to the pitch with pictures of Cork teams and players. There’s surely room for one Manchester United and Celtic player on those walls.
Showers, sunshine, and sporting character
The big division in sports, it turns out, isn’t between amateur and professional, or ball games and non-ball games.
It’s summer and winter games. This revelation came to yours truly as he walked the parchedpitch in Glen Rovers for a camogie blitz, the grass tortured by weeks of sun.
The baked ground meant some of the puck-outs bounced a lot higher than you’d expect, but the harshness of the light and the punishing heat sent me on a completely different track.
Why do we equate cold and wet weather with the formation of character in sport rather than hot weather? Word choices tell a lot. I was about to write ‘good weather’ instead of hot, which would go some way to answering that question. After all, you’d lose count of the number of times that GAA stars, on collecting silverware in July or August, refer to the muck and the rain they trained in the previous winter.
Likewise in soccer, where the ultimate test of a player’s bottle is whether or not he can do it on a wet Wednesday night in Stoke, apparently, rather than, say, a humid July evening in Nizhny Novgorod. Even in rugby, a game wedded to soft-to-yielding conditions in this part of the world, can’t help but throw some shade at southern-hemisphere stars when describing fleet attackers as top-of-the-ground players.
Yet something about a parched brownish surface suggests a searching test. With global warming evidenced all around us this summer, it might be time to focus on warm-weather evaluation from now on
Burgess stands the test of time
It was the summer of 1990 when your correspondent — a little thinner, a little hairier, a little stupider — was rushing for a bus out of Dublin and grabbed a book for the journey: Homage to QWERT YUIOP by Anthony Burgess, a vast collection of his journalism.
By a strange quirk I had another book of Burgess’s journalism to accompany my last trip out of Dublin, just last week — The Ink Trade, which was as entertaining as its counterpart from three decades ago.
Burgess’s novels I can take or leave, though A Dead Man In Deptford and Earthly Powers is worth a read.
What The Ink Trade has that nothing else has, though, is a step-by-step analysis of the time Burgess got fired as a book reviewer by the Yorkshire Post for a less than glowing review of a book.
Not a book by the owner of the paper, or its literary editor. By Burgess himself.
Feeling just like home
Kudos to The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ sports/features website, for a piece recently on the Los Angeles Times sports department.
The newspaper is moving office, so Ringer writer Bryan Curtis got a tour of the old workspace.
“This was the site of the current Times sports office,” wrote Curtis. “The room oozed with classic newspaper non-ambiance: The lighting was low and there were no windows that looked outside the building. The walls were painted a shade of gray-blue that Izod sports shirts used to come in 25 years ago. It looked like the office of an insurance agent who was thinking about selling out and enjoying life.”
I can only surmise that Bryan came into the Examiner office while I was away on holidays.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved