Another one of our columnists reflects on the need to look towards the future for Wexford GAA.
We are a strange lot. Perhaps it’s the inheritance of history, might be it’s the seasons clock nudging us towards a period of long dark nights where loved ones grow used to us being around a lot more. Whether or which, hurling and hurlers, like the great Black bear, scratch and scrape for a soft surface on which to hibernate while the grass rests and regenerates and dressing rooms grow musty and damp.
In the old days, our seasons were short and fleeting and intense. St Patricks Day lifted the tape and riders and horses tore into the year filled with ambition fuelled by heartbreak or the certainty of another victory. September came and we left and other codes drank in the stillness and went about their business.
But that was then. Then it hardly mattered, so certain were we that the under 14 boys would come back enmasse to be under 16 boys, bigger and better and maybe prepared to stay quiet when adults, who invariably knew no better, shouted and roared and brought to a boil our latent teenage hardwired propensity to tell them, in the vernacular, to do unto themselves whatever it was that floated their boat. That was then. 20 lads, most with one hurl each, only, one sliotar per team only and the green, green grass of home.
That was then and this is now. Now Sky Sports and their copycats national imitators will, in chapter and verse, tell of strains and tares and rare Colombian strikers who are looking forward to playing for (insert club/franchise here), their boyhood dreams being made real by the injection of an Australian billionaire’s cash. So too the national broadcaster, our national broadcaster, for which we pay for, will gush without blush about the concerns over the likelihood of a scan rendering some rugby player or other unavailable for (insert franchise here) in a crunch game in some exotic place. ‘Tis funny, ‘tis always a crunch game.
Everything is different. And nothing is the same. But we ought to hibernate less in this county than others do elsewhere. We are without the luxury that other counties fleetingly hold. Other places and other pages will doubtless throw the corpse of 2012 onto the cold slab and dissect and cut to draw out the good and throw out the bad. But in our heads and actions we must harvest the winter fruits as sparse and scarce as they might be. In our heads and in our deeds, we must become navigators of all seasons, never missing a chance to improve, to reflect, to plan and to organise. And we must bury, for once and for all, the blame game. We must, for once and forever, draw a line between what used to be and what is now. The now is everything, the now is the only thing.
A lorry load of clichés. Absence makes the heart grow stronger. What’s seldom is rare. If it’s not broken. And so on and so on because that’s the way it always has been. The safety net of the past, glorious or otherwise will no longer provide any kind of comfort, warm or polar. The only success worth fighting for is the success that is sustainable. The day for counting medals and cups is the day when Father Time has come to stay. The day for recrimination and angry Annual General Meetings is the day you ought to stay at home. Clubs and counties move on. They move on or they die. Simples.
A clean slate on which to start again. Keep the good and learn from and then dump the past. A clean slate on which to sketch progress. Faster, higher, stronger. Substance over style. The real thing in every pocket of every parish. Every child in every school with the opportunity to play the most beautiful of games. Every parent contacted to mine whatever support can be mined. If none, fair enough; better a neutral than a hostile. Every man and woman who wants to coach to be facilitated to do so.
A clean slate. What else is there?