Best Sports Club: the brightest, the bravest, the briefest
Hurry if you still want to enter the ‘Irish Times’ Best Sports Club in Ireland competition
Entries to the Irish Times Best Sports Club in Ireland competition – which closes to nominations this weekend – have revealed much about how you spend your leisure time. Among the more than 1,700 nominations so far are clubs for sports we expected (soccer, rugby, athletics), sports we thought were niche (darts, American football) and sports that didn’t even occur to us (frisbee, jugger).
And it seems that when you’re not cycling, rowing or hurling you’re writing poetry about cycling, rowing or hurling (which is surprisingly apt, as poetry was an Olympic competition from 1912 to 1948). Here’s some of it, beginning with the shortest entry so far. (You’ll find details of how to enter at the bottom of this article.)
Charleville Lawn Tennis Club
Trojan Swimming Club
Blackrock, Co Dublin
Training is on six times a week,
Sometimes I am so tired I cannot speak.
It’s 5am when I get up to train,
My parents drive me, so I don’t complain.
Training is hard but it’s also great fun,
With lifelong friends when all is said and done.
Length after length we practise together,
Day after day, no matter the weather.
Butterfly, free, back and breast,
It doesn’t matter which one you like best.
This is our sport and no matter what stroke,
We want to keep swimming but our club is broke.
Pool time is expensive without lots of cash,
But I have training now, so I have to dash.
Why we deserve it I can’t even begin,
But all of us here would treasure the win.
St Oliver Plunkett’s GAA
Navan Road, Dublin
A manager with the task of picking the team
The one with the job of feeding them
The guy who gets battered and bruised for seventy minutes
The one standing on the sideline waiting for his chance
The jersey washers
The orange cutters
The first aid fixers
The girl who never misses training and her friend who stands minding the bags
The boot buyers
The flag makers
The tear dryers
The one who flew home for the final
The one who did not go away
Those who negotiate to get the best deal and those who decide how to pay
The man who paints the goal posts
The umpires who stand at their side
The ticket sellers
The ticket buyers
Supporters who cheer on with pride
Those who go training first thing in the morning
Staff who hang back late at night
People when asked who never say No
The joy of winning the fight
We’ve also had plenty of entries in prose, of course, including this one:
Pink Ladies Hockey Club
“If you want love, inclusion, equality and fun, then Pink Ladies Hockey Club is for you. Pink Ladies went from the humble beginnings of a few friends hitting a ball about to playing in places like Antwerp, London and, most recently, Stockholm, where we came home from the EuroGames the proud holders of silver and bronze medals . . . We are Ireland’s only LGBT hockey club. We are family. On that pitch in Sandymount I found a group of people who inspired and encouraged me. All through the fight for marriage equality the Pink Ladies were wearing out the pavements of Dublin, knocking on doors, asking for support. Once all that was done we went training. We fought for our rights as a family, and we train as a family. It has changed my life.”
How to enter
The competition closes this weekend – you have until Sunday, May 15th to enter – so get your skates on if you want to nominate your club. Write a short pitch (no more than 500 words) submit it at irishtimes.com/bestsportsclub, and your club could win €5,000, with a further €1,000 for another deserving entrant. Both awards are courtesy of the contest’s sponsor, the National Dairy Council. The winning club will be announced in June. The judges are the rugby Grand Slam winner Fiona Coghlan, the Irish Times online sports editor, Noel O’Reilly, and the GAA journalist Jerome Quinn.