I was on leave last week from all duties including writing my column. It was “time out” for me. We all need to convalesce at times.
My idea of convalescing is probably a lot different than yours though. I was away gallivanting again and returned with a touch of the ‘flu. I missed the county senior football final but instead watched St. Enda’s of Omagh defeat Crossmaglen on TG4.
I understand that a huge crowd of 6,000 attended MacCumhaill Park where St. Eunan’s won their 14th senior club title. For those of us who like sport and namely GAA sport, there is always some activity to keep us busy.
The long winter evenings are now upon us and most people find this a difficult time. The days are short and often grey and overcast. This reflects in our moods. We had Halloween and now look forward to Christmas.
In between there is a lot of club football to be played. Relegation and promotion fixtures along with provincial club fixtures have to be played. TG4 does a tremendous job in transmitting the club championship games live.
I appreciate that not everyone has a schedule like mine but I do know that it is important to keep active and to keep one’s mind occupied. Some people are very active at this time of year like the two ladies who came knocking on my door a few weeks ago. They said they had come with a message for me.
They had brief cases and pretty smiles. I welcomed them warmly and asked the ladies to come and share their message. I’m sure you’ve all had these people come to your doorstep at some time or other. They were pleasantly surprised to be received in this manner. They were very eager to impart their wisdom. They produced their versions of the bible. Well, they couldn’t have come to a better home. Their message was about gloom and doom. “Did I know about the Ebola virus?” one of them enquired. I simply answered by asking them where they were from and how they got involved in this sect.
We exchanged pleasantries for a while. When they gave me their message I said that I had a message for them. They were in a hurry though. Although the ladies were well intentioned they had a script and were not able to deviate from it. One of the ladies was a native of Seattle but lives in Stranorlar.
The other young lady is living in Strabane. I asked them if they were familiar with “Read the Reid”. They chuckled. I asked them to come back another time and if they couldn’t I said that I would visit them. Neither of my offers was taken up. Please come back. You see, although indoctrinated into a cult, the ladies were lost and as far away from reality as anyone can imagine.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions as we have all been given a free will. A lot of people struggle in the lead up to Christmas. Media adverts tell us to spend, spend, spend. Christmas has been turned into a circus. If you are a regular reader of this column you will know my views about consumerism and greed. I will spare you the details for now. Football has formed the core of my life and though I often curse it, I always appreciate it. Sport, even if it only entails going for a walk, stimulates us.
If you think that I go around happy clapping with a grin like a Cheshire cat all the time, then you are mistaken. I believe it is about attitude and what we make of what is put before us. I am mocked and ridiculed for the things that I do and what I believe in. Who isn’t? I am one of the fortunate ones though. Sport is engrained in me. It opens up avenues to a social culture that is enriching and fulfilling.
At the outset of this column I said that I was away gallivanting again. I was but I suppose the word “gallivanting” is inappropriate. I spent a week with a group of wonderful people some of whom are suffering the recent loss of loved ones. I witnessed raw pain and grief that cut to my very core.
Believe me, these people are a great inspiration for all of us or anyone who is feeling sorry for themselves or believe that life is difficult. November is a special month in remembrance of people who have passed away. It is a solemn time. Soon Christmastide will be upon us and all the nonsense that goes with it nowadays. Before we know it, spring will be here.
In the meantime, St. Eunan’s will represent Donegal in the Ulster club championship and will play Roslea, the Fermanagh champions, this Sunday in Letterkenny. Well done to St. Eunan’s and good luck in the games ahead.
Keep the faith!