Some random things that make the GAA special
‘Warm up, you’re coming off’
* No matter how big the match, a special announcement is required if children are not to run on to the pitch at half-time to kick/hurl/bit of both.
* At the stile for the ‘Under-16s’ and ‘OAPs’, sometimes it’s hard to know which a fella queueing is going to claim to be.
* "Hats, flags or headbands."
(I never understood why you could only have one or the other.)
There was a time when paperhats were all the rage, more recently fans have been getting very imaginative. Intercounty games bring out the colour – not just in our use of language.
* Spectators can’t get into some sports stadiums with a plastic bottle of water. You can bring a bring a three-foot plank of wood with you to a GAA match and no one bats an eyelid.
* The GAA jersey is an unofficial internal passport in Ireland. It’s like holding a new-born baby – you’re just inviting strangers to strike up a conversation.
* And outside these shores, the GAA club is an unofficial Irish embassy particularly in those parts of the world where there are actual jobs.
* Double & triple headers. What other sporting organisation puts some of its biggest matches back-to-back?
* Anyone not shaking hands with an opponent who spent the previous hour trying to strangle/inflict grievous bodily harm/murder them is considered a bad sport.
* In how many sports can a player perform in front of tens of thousands of spectators and then tell a journalist he won’t be going out to celebrate because he has work in the morning?
* Sideline insults at GAA matches are akin to heckling in a comedy club – often designed to entertain the crowd more than actually land on a particular target.
You know the kind of thing. . .
“He wouldn’t spot a foul in a henhouse.”
“He’s not even good enough to line-out for these useless no-hopers.”
“Warm up, you’re coming off”
“If it was a bag of chips you’d have caught it.”
* Our games must look completely insane to foreigners – and one wonders what they make of the men in white coats standing at both ends of the field.
* Players don’t pretend to be injured – they pretend not to be.
* You can watch two matches at the business end of the championship, in the fourth largest stadium in Europe, for as little as 120. (a stand ticket for an under-16 at the weekend was a fiver).
* Pitch invasions.
Those that have to fill out insurance forms for GAA stadiums hate them.
Celebrating fans and players love them.
* Television may decide kick-off times, but school teachers decide throw-in times. That’s a good thing, right?
* There is nothing unusual about enjoying an opposing player’s mistakes in a club game, and applauding his/her every move for the county the following weekend.
* Sports analysts often spend much of their time trying to say nothing. GAA analysts spend much of their time trying to say everything. We love them (even Joe).
* Not only are GAA managers often far too ready to speak their mind after a controversial match, but they usually begin their remarks with: “I’m not supposed to say this, but . . . ”
* Despite some tinkering around the edges, the main rules of the GAA have never changed, Like those of junior B football: “If it moves hit it, if it doesn’t move, hit it until it does.”
* There’s no segregation in the GAA, so you can clearly hear the abuse shouted by opposing fans (on the plus side, they can hear your thoughts on the game).
* GAA stars don’t retire. They fade away slowly, eventually finishing as an unused substitute in a Junior C League match.