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Thursday, October 17, 2019

One. More. Chance: Rep. of Ireland men's team: My ex-girlfriend for 30+ years


Look, this is hard to share, but bear with me will ya, as me poor heart can't take much more of this.

For the last 30+ years, at least eleven manly men in loose, green jerseys and tight white shorts have, for example, had me:

· Jumping up and down at Dublin's old Lansdowne Road when Brady beat Brazil in '87

· Hugging leather-clad men in "Big Willie's Bar" (formerly of Amsterdam's Red Light District (Italia '90)

· Screaming with pain getting my first "Fighti'n Irish" tattoo for USA '94. (Nope. Not a typo... and I'm a writer... sigh :)

· Screaming with joy at the telly in Seville as we bate the bleedin' shuite outta the reigning world champs, Germany (Euro '16 qualifier)

· Listening, no matter the time of day or night, with always battered nerves via Internet radios all over the damn world to my one true love:

The Republic of Ireland Senior Men.

A football squad with the ragged hopes of a nation on their shoulders. And, every single time they cross the white line and enter the green fields of dreams, they are, and always will be, encouraged by the songs and chants of the Green Army of award-winning fans who follow the hashtag #COYBIG around the world.

Take Euro 2012 (not our finest competition) ...Ireland were on their way home, were currently losing to Spain 4-0 and CLICK HERE to see what happened next :)

To me personally, the spirit of the collective Irish squad is like that poxy ex-girlfriend who wanders in and out of your life every few months.

She's ("Squad of he's") always arriving off the bus, looking fit as a fiddle, brand new clothes on, with charming tales and wonderful ideas that when She's whispering to me (just me) of how -- this time -- everything will be OK, I believe that She's telling the truth. (And, sometimes she does, don't get me wrong... I'm a lover, not a hater.) Nothing will go wrong. That what She's been saying since 1987, to me, anyway.

The current manager, can't remember his name, in his playing days...

Seems like a nice quiet fella..

Er, yeah, about that....

And while, She's raised me up Groban-esquely to some mad, fecking heights to where I've met some of the most wonderful people like Dubliners, Michael and Dierdre Mangan, formerly of LA.

Now, back home, the couple took me under their wing when I was new and alone in California in 2001, and I'll never forget their generousity and continued friendship.

Mix that in with the pain and the anguish She's causing for so long and no wonder She's doing me head in.

No. I mean it this time, I say -- every time. I'm done! No more. Enough is enough. I'm off to join the Chess Club.

But, there She's going again on the field. You can watch me over a few drinks. It's only about ten dates a year, and She's never planning to let me down again.

Like a Depeche Mode song, I belive She's telling the truth - the lads on the team wear the Green with honor and pride, but seemingly when we always get, sometimes really, really close to planning a holiday for the following summer, She's goes and ruins it all.

Sipping my Strongbow, I'm left weak and weary as She's walking down the tunnel, gone again for the season. It'll be months until I see the balls shake in the bowls and hear when She's back in town.

Depression sinks in after awhile, lifted only when I watch old videos from the Good Ol' Days when Big Jack of Ashington was in charge for ten years, and a wee Scotsman put the ball in the English net. Oh, yes he did.

Spring, summer and autumn arrives and my heart lifts when I see She's full of pride and looking ready and strong for the challenge. I push away my chair and stand up for the national anthem and know we can beat the naysayers, Monday morning trolls -- and will always have *that* England game in Euro '88 to show our grandkids how Big Jack gave life to our collective hopes and dreams.

Today, I mention this lifetime of laughter, tears -- and low expectations coupled with moments of brilliance and utter love -- because next summer She's not needing to make plans to travel very far as the UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euro 2020, will be hosted, in part, in our hometown of Dublin.

Jaysus. I still take a moment to imagine the possibilities of putting them under pressure.

All these years, She's been travelling to places like West Germany; Italy; (and met the Pope - as you do); America; South Korea; Japan; Poland and France. There's a chance She's gonna get to next play maybe a couple of games in Dublin's Fair City.

For the last few months, I've leant back and savored the thoughts, nay the dreams, as I see She's ready to play a sold-out Aviva Stadium at the Euros. (Please, dear Lord. I'll do 50 Hail Mary's, I swear to God.)

But... this is Ireland.

She's messing with me head again, and because it is Ireland, She's never, ever (not once) going to make me life easy.

Just this past week, She's gone and played two games (a win is three points with one for a draw.) Difficult games on the road to be sure, but She's gone and walked away with only one out of a possible six.

Ah, for feck's sake and the holy Jaysus. Here we go. Again.

But, hang on a moment and stop the presses. For once, She's played the game well enough and while not qualified for Euro 2020 - yet - there's One. More. Chance - to automatically qualify.

She's gonna play Denmark (bunch of wankers - don't mention 2017) at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on 18 November. If She's a home winner, She's off to the races. The partying and real dreaming will begin and the fans will have another chance to take their shoes off for the boys in green :)

If She's a loser that night, my heart will be broken and She's gonna walk away and leave me for another few months. Again.


We could win.

Fuck. No, we can't. Look at the state of us.

And, a draw is shuite and isn't any good to us.

We have to win. We have to.

Yes, yes, we can do it.

Oh, fuck. I dunno.

Jaysus. What if we lose...

End of Part One...

To be Continued next week...


Elephant's Child said...

Love your passion.
Hope over experience on full display.
Good luck - and have fun.

Jo said...

With all that anxiety, you should be totally worn out. Not something I follow. Now Celtic Thunder is another matter.

CWMartin said...

Good luck, I know how you feel, sorta. I just kicked an American Football lass of 45 years to the curb this season.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Maybe this is your year! Keep the faith!

Unknown said...

At least we Irish produce great writers

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