Raw Talent

There is something wondrous about witnessing raw talent unfold and, for me, Diego Maradona was one of the most talented sportspersons of my time. His thrilling play had me absolutely memerised, especially during the World Cup in 1986, when I watched all of Argentina’s matches with complete awe on my little black and white television in my bedsit in Dublin. Pure bliss to behold.

I cried, like so many others when I heard of his death the other day.

They were tears of sadness, gratitude and remembrance of what was a very special time that can never be re-lived. I am so glad I took the opportunity back then to watch a master in full electrifying flow.

I honestly don’t know how I could cope if any terribleness befell two other raw talents I truly admire: Roger Federer and legend of Waterford hurling, John Mullane.

No Ordinary Sunday


Stan and I had the beach to ourselves very early this morning when the tide was out and all was calm.

However, it was like the sea was full of anticipation for the flood of sporting energy and passion that is just waiting to flood this special Sunday afternoon.

My beloved Waterford are playing Tipperary in the Munster Hurling Final in Semple Stadium in Thurles ~ throw in at 4pm ~ and the ‘boys’ have headed off with the mandatory sandwiches and bananas. Only problem is that hubby is mad Tipperary and son (like me)  is Waterford to the core and both are lunatics when it comes to supporting their teams. At least, one of them will be happy when they return! Let’s hope it’s the younger lemon!

Looking out for Waterford!
Looking out for Waterford!

Meanwhile, there’s the mega matter of the Wimbledon Final that’s almost upon us. My heart is skipping beats already and hoping, hoping, hoping that the brilliance of Roger Federer will shine through with all his grace, glory and greatness.


Silly Ball Games or Character-Building Activities?

Switzerland winning the Davis Cup and its obvious significance for the great Roger Federer got me thinking, yet again, about different perspectives on sport.

Victorious Swiss Davis Cup Team. Photo: AFP
Victorious Swiss Davis Cup Team.
Photo: AFP

For some, like a late aunt of mine, sports like tennis, golf, soccer, hurling, rugby, snooker … are perceived as ‘silly ball games’ and we all know Mark Twain’s quote:

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Sport, for me, is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I also believe that participation in it can be one of the greatest teachers about life.

Among the lessons I’m talking about here are:

1. Hard work is essential for success, even for those with lots of natural talent.

2. Life is about winning and losing and today’s loser can be tomorrow’s winner.

3. Experience is fundamental and we have to be prepared to take what may feel are very hard knocks to gain this.

4. It’s crucially important to be prepared to change a losing game.

5. Life is about teamwork.

6. The ponds of life vary in size and so do the fish.

7. Loss or success in a particular sphere do not define the ‘whole person.’

8. Major societal divides can be healed through universal passions.

9. Physical fitness enhances mental agility

10. Resting is every bit as important as hard work in mazimizing potential.

What are YOUR views on sport? What, if any lessons, has it taught you? 

Poetry in Motion ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 204

Rose 'Poetry in Motion'
Rose ‘Poetry in Motion’

The concept of ‘Poetry in Motion’ is one that resonates hugely with me and I even went as far as buying a rose back in February that had that name. It is now in full bloom and I’ve been thinking more and more about who and what symbolizes ‘poetry in motion’ most for me. It has been an interesting ‘internal’ debate because it has made me realise that what I seem to admire most is the natural ~ be it nature itself, natural talent or nature as it manifests itself between people. So, here’s my top ten (out of hundreds) in no particular order:

#1. Tennis player Roger Federer in full flow.

#2. Former Waterford County Hurler, John Mullane whose natural talent and passion was a thrill to behold.

# 3. Irish athlete, Sonia O’Sullivan, as she sprinted to victory on the world stage.

#4. The dimpled smile of Irish poet, Brendan Kennelly when he introduced his poetry at a reading I attended in Trinity College, Dublin when I was a Junior Freshman.

#5. The sheer talent and handsomeness of  golfer, Seve Ballesteros, who I was fortunate to see playing at the Irish Open in Mount Juliet, Co. Kilkenny.

#6. Irish boxer, Katie Taylor, as she danced to Olympic Gold.

#7. The sea kissing the shore here in my beloved Co. Waterford.

# 8. The brilliance of Michael Flatley and Jean Butler as they performed in Riverdance.

#9. The great Liam Clancy with his natural talent as singer, story-teller and musician.

# 10. A deep, enriching hug with someone who truly cares.

I’d dearly love to know what your list would be?

Poetry and Tennis ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 176

Rudyard Kipling’s, If, was one of the first poems to which I was introduced by my mother who was also responsible for inspiring my love of tennis.

Mother liked to listen to Wimbledon on the radio, even after we had got our first television in the 1960s. Her hero was Fred Perry, who won Wimbledon in 1934, 1935 and 1936,  and she often talked of how getting to hear the tennis was quite  an issue  as she had to do battle with her farming father who simply had  to hear the Livestock Report. As Mother recalled it, the Livestock Report always seemed to happen just as the tennis matches involving Fred Perry were poised at psychological moments!

Fred Perry Photo: Wikipedia
Fred Perry
Photo: Wikipedia

What a difference nowadays ~ I can be driving along and getting a point by point and grunt by grunt commentary from my son via his phone!

But, whatever the technological changes, the words of the poem If  remain  as meaningful as ever. I love this rendition from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: