Just to keep you "rumpish malcontents" updated ...a few bits-and-pieces.
God Bless Mayo!
Mayo have now started to lead the way - a 100% County Committee vote against pay-for-play (aka grants/awards/whatever).
They've set a lead.Let's get in behind them!
What Can You Do To Help?
There's a few things you could do to stop pay-for-play:
1. If you know your Central Council delegate, lobby him before Saturday
2. Bring this issue up in your Club
3. Try to get it discussed at your County Convention
4. Talk to people about it: tell them why we think the way we do
Above all, keep your commitment and enthusiasm!
The Future That's Ahead Of Us: An Email From a Limerick Rugby Man
I read Mark Conway's article in the Irish Independent today. He makes some excellent points. I am not what you would consider a GAA man. I go to the Limerick games, but I am a rugby player. What the GAA have done now is what rugby did 10 years ago.
Ten years ago, at twenty years of age, I played in a thriving club scene. Then clubs started paying players. So players migrated to the clubs that paid the better money. To compete, other clubs increased the amount they paid and the circle went on until the clubs went bankrupt and every volunteer a club had stopped working for the club. "Why should I do the club draw/mark the pitches/wash the jerseys/man the bar/coach the team/etc for nothing when so-and-so is getting £50 for playing on a Saturday?"
Club rugby is dead in Ireland. We have an elite of 30 rugby players in Ireland, there are 98 other professionals who fill the gaps. No-one plays club anymore. Clubs who fielded 8 adult teams ten years ago, struggle to field 3 now. There are numerous reasons for this, but one is definitely professionalism. Most clubs are now two clubs within a club - the paid first team and the rest. The rest wonder why they bother.
I played on the first team in three clubs (I moved as I moved cities for work). I was offered pay in all. My parish club in Limerick, whose games I attended since I was old enough to go and watch my dad and for whom my only childhood ambition was to play on the first XV, wanted to pay me for what I loved doing.
I played on a team with my three brothers, for my parish, representing my family and my community. This is the 'place' Mark talks about. This is sport and there is no greater feeling that this - the feeling you belong and that you are wearing a jersey your father wore, that you are only minding it to pass on to the next generation.
My heroes where the guys who played on the first team before me. They coached and supported me now. How could I take pay for play when they didn't? How could I look them in the eye? I couldn't and refused the money.
And whilst we are on sacrifice - I trained six days a week and played two games a week (college and club) - I trained twice a day some days and at least once a day at the time. But it wasn't sacrifice, I loved it. I preferred playing than working in a bar earning pocket money.
If you don't love it, don't do it. Someone else will gladly take your place. If it's money you want, take an extra job. As a first team player (or county player), you are in the most privileged position in your sport. Everyone wants to swap places with you. Everyone wants what you have.
And you are only minding that jersey, hanging onto it as long as you can. Cos a hell of a lot went before you, a hell of a lot more will come after you. It's only the efforts of everyone that has helped put you in that position (starting with your parents and the coaches you had in your club since you started).
I admire the GAA greatly. I'd urge that you don't go down the pay for play route. You have something very special in your organisation.