Hurling, Poker and the tempting thoughts of drinkin…

Beginning blogs and finishing them are not the best of horny bedfellows. It’s akin to a lot of peoples exercise regime’s – it’s a simple thing to join the gym, but going there when you’ve just worked ten hours, it’s pissing down outside and the final of X factor is on is a completely different matter. It all takes dedication and persistence. Blah blah blah. Enough of that I say to you. Down off my soap box.

It’s been a great few weeks for a lot of reasons. I am enjoying sobriety. I had the pleasure of watching the Dubs hurlers beat the Trbesmen of Galway at the weekend. I have mentioned it before, but it is amazing the kudos that having a strong hurling team has done for the estimation of the “Jackeens” amongst the cackling, high pitched banshee minds of the “culchies “of Ireland. A “Jackeen” is a derogatory term for a resident of Dublin as we were the first county of Ireland to allow the Brits to raise the Union Jack on the island of Ireland. When I say allow I mean be violently oppressed and viciously threatened, maimed and killed before relenting. A “Culchie” is a term used for anyone from outside Dublin – the origins are less particular than “Jackeens” – it might stem from the old Irish word “Coillte” meaning forest or “Cul an ti” meaning back of the house, or even from the Irish town called Kiltimagh, which is in the heartland of the hinterland of rural Ireland.

The country folk of Ireland have long regarded the Dubs as a shower of posers and shapers. Hurlers don’t pose or shape, they just hurl. They fight, run, battle and knock seven lumps of shite out of each other…but they are creative and need an almost female touch in order to caress and seduce the slioter (the ball used in hurling) along their phallic Ash hurls. They are the warriors of the Gaelic code. Hurling in Irish folklore is the game the ancient celtic warriors used to play to sort the men from the boys, and indeed the gods from the mortal men. In todays shallow and materialist world there are few sports which get to the core of a national psyche as much as hurling does for Ireland. The Dublin team is a serious challenger this year. They have worked hard at underage level for 10 years to make this happen. They have underpinned their tireless training with recouping Dotsey O’ Callaghan and Conal Keaney from the footballers and there are great days ahead.

I’ve been head down hammering away at the poker tables. I played the ANZPT Canberra last week and lucked out in about 50th position. I played well but ran into some tough “cooler” hands. I did make one or two mistakes and I was punished to the maximum for these errors. But I did make some great reads and called off some great hands. I was playing with the best Aussie pros and I was in no way out of my depth. It has given me the belief that my game is good enough to take on the best  and that there is a serious future for me if I can get into a few more big tourneys. My online game is turning a corner again. After a tough losing couple of months I am placing in some big cashes again and I am feeling the love from the poker Gods. The blog is suffering as a result of my poker activity. But that is just the way it has to be sometimes.

Sobriety is relatively easy these days. I don’t think about it too much. I am reading Anthony Kiedis’ book “Scar Tissue” of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s fame. He talks openly about his own struggles with addiction and creativity throughout. A smack head, coke head and “anything he could get his hands on” head, he battled through addiction and rehab many times. One of the most interesting points he makes about drug and alcohol addiction is that notion of it being a progressive illness. No matter what you think about the drugs and drink, if you have a problem and give up, after some time the thoughts of doing them again will pop up. You will possibly think that “hey, I don’t think I’ll be as bad as before…sure I can have few drinks/joints/lines and it will just be like when I first began”. But it doesn’t work like that. The drugs and drinks have a magical way of bypassing the synapses of long term memory and you jump right back into the level of addiction you previously left off on. You don’t get the opportunity of “rediscovering” the drugs or alcohol, you just flop right back into where you left off – normally a pathetic mess.

In saying that I got an awful hankering to be drinking pints of Guinness, sipping Makers Mark and smoking Johnny Blue outside the fine pub of Keoghs off Grafton street in Dublin today. Or even to head to Durty Nelly’s pub in Paddington in Sydney and sup the creamy joy of porter on the high stool with me ould mates. But it’s because I have forgotten the shite I get myself into that these thoughts are croppin up. It’s because I used to love the “lush” (as they call it in Tuam) so much that it is imperative I stay dry and focused. You can’t go crawling back to your ex girlfriend every time you get lonely. Sure she was always there for you. Sure she was a lovely, sweet girl. Sure she understood you and made the tastiest banoffi pie. Sure she used to dress up in all those seedy costumes you used to get. But she broke your heart. She dumped you and left you when you needed her most. She treated you like a moron and you are almost certain she cheated on you. Fuck her. Don’t look back. Don’t be cold and lonely. Wear a scarf or go for a jog. She was never good enough for you.

5 thoughts on “Hurling, Poker and the tempting thoughts of drinkin…”

  1. njoyd ur blog ..but ur picture…For a sec thought they wer –sumo wrestlers !! I need new glasses….


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