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
Youth Movement
Gamers: Eamon, Andrew, Conor, Cameron and Liam

Gamers: Eamon, Andrew, Conor, Cameron and Liam

AS THE SUMMER HAS WORN ON, OUR CLUB HAS BEEN INJECTED WITH SOMETHING INFINITELY BETTER THAN ANY PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUG: YOUTH. 

For the past few weeks, we've been lucky enough to have kids hanging out on the pitch—learning the great game and thriving. It has been a blast to see their first tentative moves transform into a little swagger as the matches have unfurled. (Their timing is perfect, since they'll have a league of their own this fall with the launch of the Fairfax Police Youth Club division of Irish football.) 

In the meantime, these new boys of summer can roam the pitch with the big dudes and dudettes...and remind us why we play games, especially this one, in the first place. 

We had another fine match last Thursday, as documented below by our friend, photographer Gary Dize. As always, Gary, we appreciate your talent, and we salute your efforts. 

Michael McCarthy
Something About Mary
Mary McPherson defending David Skinner (he has no chance, right?) 

Mary McPherson defending David Skinner (he has no chance, right?) 

When most people come out to play with us, they usually never leave. But Mary McPherson did. 

Her reason was solid: She has spent the past year teaching in India. (OK, we'll accept this excuse.)

Anyway, last week we got to hang with Mary again during her summer respite. She arrived toting Gaelic football trading cards (who knew?), and once she stepped onto the pitch at Van Dyck Park, it was clear she hasn't lost the edge in her game. She's been playing for a long time (most recently for Baltimore GAA), and it shows. 

But more than anything, it was great to have Mary's smile and laugh back in our lives. 

Here's to the prodigal daughters among us, and here's to Mary. 

(It was another great summer-weeknight turnout! Thanks to GARY DIZE for these tremendous images. We've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again: You da man, Gary.) 

Michael McCarthy