What This Game Really Means
(left to right) Kyle Wilkinson, Mike McCarthy and Mike’s son, Jack

(left to right) Kyle Wilkinson, Mike McCarthy and Mike’s son, Jack

All right, let’s get philosophical for a second and ask a simple question: Why do we play?

All of our answers are likely different, and many will hinge on our life stage. Some play for the workout, some for the competition, and some for a combination of the two. Still, others play with our club each week to make connections in the community.

In fact, a gent named Bobby O’Keefe, who serves in the U.S. military, reached out a few weeks ago to say his family had recently moved to the area and wanted to play a game they’d seen in Ireland. Plus, they wanted to dive into their new community. Did they ever. The entire family played a match with us and generally kicked some serious ass. Bravo, O’Keefe clan. (See their family pic below.)

And then there’s Kyle Wilkinson and my son, Jack. They’ve been friends with each other since they were toddlers (it helps that I’ve been close to Kyle’s dad since fifth grade and Mrs. Hanson’s class).

The boys rolled through school together and even played Little League together (Mudcats forever!). Both just graduated from college and are bound for new gigs in the next two weeks; Kyle heads to Disney, and Jack to the Washington Capitals. To be sure, it’s a transitional point in their lives, and their paths will likely only cross a few times during the next several years, if that much.

So, it was beyond wonderful to see these two on the pitch together this summer. They played with utter abandon and, above all, big grins. They probably couldn’t pinpoint why they were out there with us during the sticky, buggy nights of June and July, but my hunch is that it’s for the same reason they’ve played together for 20 years: it’s fun.

Life is sometimes that simple.

(A big thanks to GARY DIZE for these images. If you ever want to join us on the pitch, reach out at fairfaxirishfootball@gmail.com … and yeah, we play tonight. Cheers, Mike McCarthy)

Michael McCarthy
Endless Summer
Summer evening matches in Fairfax City have been another hit, with a great mix of folks from the DMV.

Summer evening matches in Fairfax City have been another hit, with a great mix of folks from the DMV.

Heat? What heat?

The formula for success when it comes to summer football: Do it after 7 when the sun ducks behind the maples and oaks and shades the entire Van Dyck pitch; open the match up to those who’ve been playing for 20 years or 20 minutes; make it competitive but remember everyone has to work the next day; ensure Mary McPherson shows up for inspiration at least once a year. (OK, Mary now teaches in India, so we’re flattered that her stateside road trip brings her to the metropolis of Fairfax.)

Anyway, last week was another gem. Fun never had it so good.


Michael McCarthy
HomeGrown in Fairfax City
Tracy Neill (left) and Sage Grimmell doing what they do.

Tracy Neill (left) and Sage Grimmell doing what they do.

Over the past five years, we’ve had people from around the planet and the DC area play with us. Hell, last summer a young dude walked up and told us he wanted to play. Turns out he’d been in the country for three weeks…from Iran. (For the record, he was pretty talented on the pitch.)

And then there’s our homegrown crew. Specifically, players in their teens and 20s who grew up in Fairfax City, attended our schools, and played in house soccer, lacrosse and other leagues on some of the very fields where we now play.

Case in point: Tracy Neill and Sage Grimmell. Both are excellent athletes who took to our game a few years ago and embraced it with their usual female swagger.

We’d expect nothing less from Fairfax City women. They’re some kind of wonderful.

(Here’s to another great spring season, which wrapped up Sunday. Good news: Our Summer Thursdays program begins after Memorial Day, with matches every week from 7ish until dusk at Van Dyck Park. It’s all free, and everyone is welcome. Thanks to Gary Dize for the pictures below. Now that baseball season has begun, he’s a busy guy — he shoots for the Nationals — so we truly appreciate him coming out and capturing the fun.)





Michael McCarthy