In the joyous rapture that followed the Dubs nail-biting win over Kerry in the all Ireland, I was quite annoyed to see a group on Facebook entitled 'jumping on the Dublin team bandwagon even though I've never watched a GAA game before'. I would never make a conscious effort to buy tickets to any of the matches as I would not consider myself a staunch GAA supporter and would not wish to deprive any die hard fans of the chance to experience the Croke Park atmosphere. However, just because I do not go to every match and hang flags outside my house does not mean that I am not allowed to bask in the glory of my fellow countymen when we win a competition that means so much. I watch the matches at home or in the pub when I get a chance, I may not be able to name every single player but I understand the rules and should be allowed to enjoy a game, such as that All Ireland Final without being made to feel guilty by anyone else!!
Similarly, I was given a bit of grief because I went to the Aviva stadium to see a friendly between Ireland and England. Not going to lie, I did get somewhat distracted by the very desirable figure of Tommy Bowe standing less than 20 feet away from me. Just because I enjoy watching the men in shorts and still have no idea why scrums are awarded or how they are won doesn't mean that I deserved to be there any less than anyone else.
There are those who look down on 'newbie' rugby fans who only began following the rugby team when they started doing well and have now become fanatical in anticipation of how far we can go in this World Cup. As far as I'm concerned, whether it's soccer, rugby, golf, tennis, whatever. Anything that can create a bit of unity and/or happiness in these turbulent times, is just fine with me and should be with everyone else.
What I do NOT hold much sway with is any fan who turns their back on their team just because they didn't win. Following today's match against Wales, there are bound to be some of those who take the view 'ah, they threw it away, they couldn't handle the pressure, they built themselves up too much, etc, etc, etc.' Cue exact same conversation should the soccer team not qualify for the European Championships after their less than totally convincing win last night. While it scares the bejesus out of me sometimes, you have to admire some of the English Premier League soccer fans faith. Win, lose, draw, they would die for their teams. Not saying we need to go that far obviously......
Moral of the Story - local and national victories should be shared by everyone, as should the losses. So today, instead of lamenting our exit from the world cup, we should celebrate how well the lads did and remember that for some of them (BOD, ROG, POC to name a few), this was likely their last chance to win a World Cup. Now that's gotta hurt.