This is not a sporting post. I repeat, this is not a sporting post. But…of late, a number of the professional sports teams I follow have been doing rather badly. As in, horrifically. They shall remain nameless for even to think about them on this fine Sunday morning might send me into a never ending tailspin of despair and recrimination. Let’s just say that I’m not on speaking terms with a number of my supposed sporting heroes. If we knew each other, that was.
Every week in post-match interviews, they turn out the same tired cliches. ‘We’ve let the fans down,’ ‘We know we have to improve,’ ‘We need to work harder and start again for next week.’ Yet invariably, seven days later, nothing has improved and, if anything, the situation has worsened. It’s a relentless ‘Grounding Day’ scenario as they saunter off to their six figure sports cars before driving off to their seven figure mansions.
Meanwhile, the poor supporters are left with broken hearts and ruined weekends. This affected me more when I was younger. I would rant and rage, say I was finished with the team, and would never watch them again. Yet, seven days later, I was sat in front of the television, sporting my team colours, willing them onwards to their next humiliating defeat. It’s hard to cut the emotional bond of a lifetime of highs and lows. You can’t stop supporting a team you have followed since childhood, no matter how much they suck.
Getting less emotionally attached to a sporting team is supposedly a sign of maturity or ‘growing up.’ My wife, Fionnuala, might raise an eyebrow at that bold statement but having children does help (force) you to re-evaluate your priorities as to what is important in life and what needs to slip down the pecking order a bit. My family come first now and all my emotional reserves are required for the trials and tribulations of sharing a house with three teenagers.
My family are the central hub in my life around which everything rotates, not some football, rugby, or NFL squad. They are the team I cheer on every day, whether it’s on the sidelines watching them compete for their respective teams, or Hannah putting in the hard work in the gym with her personal trainer. Fionnuala works selflessly both at home, on the roads as a taxi mum, and holding down a demanding part-time job. They are the superstars I look up to these days. They are my heroes.