Psychedelic Football (Short Video!)

The boys from the St. Joseph’s University football club ventured to Fairfax City for a day of matches during the Irish Fest. We had a blast — and, yes, our local ladies got in a kick-ass match of camogie. (Special thanks to our friends from Michael Collins/Alexandria for bringing along their set of jerseys so we could all look pretty damn official.)

Michael McCarthy
Barefoot in the Park
Playing Gaelic football barefoot

When I first saw this picture of Jeff Turner playing without shoes during the last of our summer weeknight matches, I thought, “Yeah, this image sums up our summer of playing football in the park.”

What that means, of course, is that it was pretty damn spirited, competitive, carefree and fun. Among our 11 matches between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we never played with fewer than 10 on a side, and we also reeled a ton of newcomers.

And then there’s Jeff. He hasn’t played with us for more than a year, and for a good enough reason: He moved to New York City to attend grad school and settle into domestic bliss with his new bride and new(er) baby boy. But when he slipped into DC for a night in late August to settle some financial matters, he heard about our match and had to play. (Yes, his cleats were back in NYC.)

We had one hell of a summer, with visits from Irish nationals Edel and Michelle who were working in the States for the summer (you ladies schooled us — bravo), as well as newcomers like Patrick (you need to start a Gaelic club in college, dude), Bill (nice new cleats, my man) and rugby players PJ, Nate, Ray and Chris (come on, admit it, this version of footie is way more fun, right?). And we even had an appearance from Mary, who has been teaching in India (she hasn’t lost her Gaelic groove).

All of this — the steamy nights, Andrew Healy’s in-game commentary, the whine of locusts, the post-game mosquito swarms — is in our athletic rearview mirror now.

The good news? Our fall season kicks off Saturday…

Many thanks to GARY DIZE for these amazing shots!

Michael McCarthy
The Future Is Now
Gaelic football and kids Fairfax Virginia

The beginning of something monumental is often hard to recognize when it stares you in the face.

But youth football in the DC area had one of those days over the weekend. Indeed, on Sunday, more than 40 kids — from 6 to 16 years old — showed up to a give-Gaelic-a-try skills clinic hosted by Fairfax Police Youth Club. Five of our club's coaches helped out, explaining the game and running fun, crisp drills for 75 minutes on a sweltering day. 

Were there plenty of confused looks about hand-passing, solos and the many ways to score? Absolutely. But for the kids who came out, there were mostly smiles. Dare we say they had a blast? 

At the beginning of the summer, not a single one of these kids had heard of this form of football. But they all took a leap of (athletic) faith on a late-August afternoon. (Many have since registered for FPYC's fall program, which has already exceeded its registration goal.) When they return to school next week, they can say with confidence: I learned a new sport on summer vacation. 

And it was the start of something big for all of us. 

 

Michael McCarthy