Measuring Out My Life in Championships-The Appalling Vista of No GAA Championships in 2020

J. Alfred Prufrock may have measured out his life in coffee spoons. I have measured out mine in championships. Gaelic football and hurling championships, to be specific.

And the most appalling vista is looming large in my mind-that is, that there will be no championship this year as a consequence of the coronavirus/covid-19 catastrophe.

I was sent a WhatsApp video during the week-it was Tony Kelly, the Clare hurler, at his home hitting sliotars into a domestic refuse wheelie bin from what looked like 20 or 30 yards away.

The sliotars where striking the raised lid of the bin, like a basketball off a backboard, and falling into the bin. And he was doing it off both left and right side. It was impressive stuff, pure skill, and the envy of any young lad or lassie who picked up a hurley.

It struck me then that there is a group of hurlers and footballers who would have been at their peak this 2020 championship year, and they may not get to strike or kick a ball in anger.

When I write about being at their peak I mean the particular point on a two axis graph which indicates the one time in their life when their mental maturity and toughness coincides with their physical well being and condition, and freedom from injuries.

We may never get to know who those players are. And for the players, it is even worse because they will may never realise their best days are behind them, 2020 was to be their year and they spent the summer at home kicking their heels, and it is all downhill from here.

Yes, I know the coronavirus has created disastrous consequences for all of us. Some of us have lost loved ones, some have lost jobs, lost money, lost businesses.

And the loss of a GAA championship season may be trivial and unimportant as a consequence. But for some of us, it is not just a championship or sport, it is more important than that.

It might even be the way some of us measure out our lives.

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