No Ordinary Sunday ~ Part 2


July 12, 2015 is winding to a close here in Ireland and it’s tinged with a sadness which I feel every year as Wimbledon ends. It has been a brilliant two weeks ~ and already I’m dreaming of next year.

I was hoping to see Andy Murray win and when he was out, then Roger Federer was my next hope but alas ….. Brings me back to years I sobbed over Billie Jean King, when son Harry was inconsolable over Lindsay Davenport.

And while Roger was losing, the Waterford hurling team were being edged out by Tipperary. My heart bled as the team played their hearts out and we now have to face the famous ‘back door’ and meet Dublin in the knock-outs instead of sitting pretty in the semi-finals. This is serious stuff for me, as you can see, and it will take a while to deal with it.

Sport is a great teacher; always has been. It’s all about highs and lows, winning and losing. Most of all, it’s character-forming and shows the importance of talent, dedication, teamwork, physical fitness, mental agility, strategic thinking and passion.

So, as always, I return to Rudyard Kipling’s great poem, If, as it never fails to bring calm and perspective about both sport and life.

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? 

Sporting Passion, Jersey, and the Ryder Cup

It would have been impossible for me to marry someone who didn’t have deep interest in sport. I just couldn’t cope with questions like: What on earth is a topspin lobor What the hell has an eagle got to to do with golf?

Well, I’m glad to report that I found ‘love’ on a tennis court and the guy who courted me and whom I eventually married was a keen sportsman who played about 6 sports at representative level and continues to have an absolute passion for sport in general.

Our honeymoon  on the lovely island of Jersey coincided with the Ryder Cup in 1991. When we arrived at the hotel, hubby  made a mad lunge at the television to be sure that it had all the stations necessary to see every shot of the competition.

Jersey was stunning, with its beaches, coastal paths, seafood restaurants on tiny harbours,  The Lavendar Farm, La Mare Vineyard, Jersey Pottery and, of course, nearby Sark Island with its feudal regime.

The Ryder Cup was played in Kiawah Island, South Carolina that year and really it was like we became bi-located once it got underway on the Friday.

Watching the Preview of this year’s competition with hubby last night, I got a tingle of excitement and a real sense of deja vu when when he said of Ian Poulter: Here’s your man!  My man in 1991 was undoubtedly Seve Ballesteros, who I had been fortunate enough to see in the flesh here in Ireland and who is without doubt the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on. And what an inspirational golfer, not unlike Ian Poulter!

The 1991 Ryder Cup was unbearably close and we travelled home on the Sunday as the latter stages were unfolding. My parents had invited us for tea but weren’t in the least surprised when hubby shot passed them to catch the last few holes in which Europe were just pipped.

I can imagine that this could well be some people’s idea of absolute hell but somehow the Ryder Cup gives me a biennial reminder of the extent to which our marriage is built on a shared love of sport of all descriptions.

It’s all in the genes, as we both come from sporting families, and I could only smile when our son told me the other day of how he was shocked and horrified to be asked by someone: How many games are in a tennis match?

So, best of luck to the smiling Paul McGinley and his fabulous European team.  We’ll be watching!




Creativity, Arts and Sport ~ Gatherings from Ireland #185

It seems to me that it is widely assumed that ‘sporty’ people and ‘arty’ people are poles apart and as one who loves both sport and the arts I’ve grappled with this for years.

It has all come to a head today because  there is a writing ‘do’ that I’d love to go to this evening BUT what about Wimbledon? Needless to say, I’m asking myself  How could anyone organise anything on men’s quarter finals day at Wimbledon which is bound to go on late into the evening?

But that’s just the warm-up or should I say the ‘preface?’


Back in 1976, I first came upon the concept of paradigms through T.S. Kuhn’s book  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  It’s a book that I always keep very  close at hand because it has always seemed so useful in trying to grapple with what can seem like different ways of thinking, different worlds.  I know, as a young sociology student, I wasn’t really meant to be using Kuhn to help me see how it was possible that someone would think that ‘doing a line’ could only mean ‘ having a fling’ when, of course, it could mean ‘being a line judge’ at Wimbledon or wherever.

I firmly believe that both sport and the arts require creativity.  To me, they are like opposite sides of the same creative coin. I think, though, that those who frequent the different camps don’t realise how much they have in common. And worse still, I think there can be a tendency to categorise kids from a very early age as being either ‘arty’ or ‘sporty.’

Yes, ‘natural’  talent and leanings come into play with regard to both sport and the arts but I think we need to look at them as being within the same broad paradigm ~ a paradigm in which there is so much common language.

So, now I must dash and check on the latest scores at Wimbledon.  As for the writing ‘do’ tonight, I think that calls for yet another way of ‘doing a line!’