Sunday, February 11, 2007

Field of Screams

It's a curious thing. Like mixing your drinks, certain emotions should be left at opposite sides of them room. Mixing say, Fear and Happiness can cause madness. Love and Hate, when combined, can result in Murder. Green and Blue in union? Red.

Now, on this planet, colours aren't technically considered emotions. But after yesterdays gut fest at Croke Park, I think it wholly appropriate. The association of Gaelic Games, and we're bored of hearing about gestures and historic offerings by the way, have produced a shining, mammoth shrine to their cause. From one angle, it could be German sporting architecture at it's best, another though, and you're back home with a Breakfast roll and an SSIA. And that's part of the charm. The sheer, unfinishedness of it. Like the wall my Dad built at the back of the house or two Luas lines, Croke Park has decided that it would become a classic 'U' shaped stadium (a convenient genre don't you think). And in a curious, comforting Irish way, it's left semi-built. To be honest, I'm not too bothered about this. I'm sure they will fill in the Hill end eventually, and even though I suggest a bit of it's charm may disappear too, I don't really care.

Now, I'm rambling slightly, but you see, like above, I again don't care. But stay with me here, cause the link between the above and the below, perhaps somewhat loose, is certainly closer than the two Luas lines (Note, if you're reading this in 2076, Yes, it's true, we did have to walk between lines in the old days)

I was an emotional mess yesterday. I heaved. I had both feet in touch. I was in the stand. I was crashing a blimp into Aras an Uchthuran. I was giddy like a schoolboy. My tears had tears. I laughed vomit. Tension you see, does not sit well on my athletic shoulders. Yesterday our national broadcaster (RTE) and the oppress.. sorry, our friends in the UK, the BBC layered the tension over me like I was a tall glass of fresh Ice cream and the tension was thick syrupy strawberry sauce. BBC history lessons danced with claims of Stadium greatness.. ' Bigger than every stadium in Britain' they exclaimed. Flashes of dying freedom fighters and gypo looters jostled with RTE's poetic renderings, symbolic Bus journeys and edgy humour. Jim was literally twisted inside out. Dave was having bowel trouble. But.. I had an itch.. Something bugged me. Why should the GAA, long villains of meaningful dialogue (!!), long supporters of an amateurism which is honourable only in the history books and long supporters of uneven distribution of profits, be the ones who build our first, 75% complete, proper stadium. Maybe the wind say's 'Tax Payers Money'.. Maybe it doesn't.. But. If it does, and I'll shut the window now if you don't mind, then should such a big deal of been made about yesterday? Should this triple emotion, heart killing, cross channel coo-fest have been about History? After all, there's a car park on Hitler's final resting place.

The stadium is an achievement, but no more that the countless other buildings around the country.. It's nice and all, but shouldn't it be? Why the surprise? We're a modern, rich and young country, isn't it time we not only expected facilities like this, but also demanded it?..

Anyway, it doesn't matter, as it's only 75% complete.

David Charles Byrne 2007

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