Ignore the naysayers... COYBIG!
Regular readers may recall my New Year's resolution.
Six months into 2012 I'm proud to say that I've managed, most of the time at least, to look for the positives in whatever life should conspire to throw at me. It's not always easy, but if there's a positive option, I try to pursue it, and I have to say that most of the time, I'm the better of it.
However, as I concentrate myself on staying positive, I've noticed around me, an increasing negativity. To make matters worse, it's become all-pervading, to the point where even sport, that great uniting force that has the power to bond us all, is affected.
Last weekend was a busy one for a sports fan. Ireland, as any reasonable pundit would have expected, lost to the All-Blacks. Cork beat Kerry in an exciting game in the Munster football semi final, and unfortunately, despite the huge buildup and great excitement, the Republic Of Ireland were turned over by Croatia in Poznan. All enjoyable, if not all delivering the desired results. That's sport, for you, as the saying goes.
However, I don't know if it's just me, but I think I notice a level of negativity in the wake of those results, that took me by surprise.
Listening to the talk shows, Neil’s included this week, I've heard the soccer team glibly described as everything from 'donkeys' to 'boys in a mans game'.
I heard Trapattoni, a God of the game, who has won every trophy there is, and some of them a few times, dismissed as '...an ould fool...'. The laugh of it all is, that if (and yes, I know it's now a big if) the team can pull off two big results and get out of the group, all will be instantly forgiven, and the same 'critics' will be on the phone saying “we always knew they had it in 'em, like”.
For me, while I would love to see the team do well, I am also a realist, and for a group of not particularly brilliant players, to even be in the finals, is a cause for celebration as far as I'm concerned. Anything else is a bonus. I'll be out for a jar tonight, hoping against hope for a result against Spain, but enjoying the occasion, regardless of the score. Focussing on the positive, in other words.
The Rugby team were, as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, well beaten by the All-Blacks on Saturday. It was an enjoyable match, however, with some good individual Irish displays. I listened to a New Zealand radio commentary on my iPhone (I'm funny like that), and their top analysts were, in fact, quite complimentary to Ireland, for the way they at least kept up the effort.
Not so at this end. “A disgrace... making a show of us... lambs to the slaughter... Kidney must go... etc..”, were just some of the comments. I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed the match, and the sublime skills of the World Champions. I
reland lost, but they lost to a team that are sheer poetry to watch with ball in hand. That's sport. Why is it so hard for people to see that side of it? Are we so browbeaten by bad politics and dodgy economics, that we can no longer just enjoy a game, but we must stick the knife in when the result is not to our liking? We need to get over ourselves, and quickly!
The thing that really did my head in, however, was the aftermath and so-called 'analysis' of Cork's win over Kerry.
I listened to that match on C103, where commentary as always was by the legendary Paudie Palmer and his longtime sidekick John Fintan Daly. It was brilliant. An exciting tussle and a great result, right? Er, sorry, no.
On Monday, I was almost deafened by a chorus of “... ah, sure we'll meet Kerry again in Croker, and they'll make short work of us when it matters...” Sweet Jesus, lads.
What happened to beating your greatest rivals and just enjoying it? What became of taking those little golden moments and just savouring them? Are we so beaten down, so washed up, that we can't simply allow ourselves that little pleasure? The thing I grew to love about sport since taking an interest in it, is how it unites us, and how it gives us an outlet – an escape, if you will, from the travails of life and work. I'm as disappointed as the next man when my team loses or doesn't deliver, but, I still enjoy the occasion, and the friendship and camaraderie of just 'being there'.
It's so important to preserve that positivity, win, lose or draw.