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