Monday, August 01, 2005

More Random Irish Bashing.

The title suggests that this post is going to make derogatory comments about Irish people (or at least Irish-Canadians). Well, that's true (when have I ever passed up an opportunity to insult anyone? It's also going to be about actual Irish bashing.

There was a Gaelic football tournament up in Edmonton this week, and although you're not allowed to tackle people (silly rule), you are allowed to shoulder charge them, and slap at the ball while they carry it. So, my natural defender skills (a polite way of saying that I'm large and good at getting in the way) were put to some good use.

As I've said before, it's a funny old game. It's not just that the rules seem designed to give someone familiar with proper English sports (like Rugby and Soccer-football) a headache. Gaelic football sometimes seems less of an athletic contest (although the good players are pretty skillful indeed) than an excuse for Irish people to indulge in two of their favourite pasttimes - disrespecting authority figures, and arguing with each other.

To make a broad generalisation, Irish people have a finely honed sense of injustice and melodrama. You can see this by the way that a missed call by the referee is treated as if it was the single worst thing to happen in any sporting event ever. It was hillarious, almost every free kick brought a storm of protest and counter-protest from anyone within voice-shot.

On the animated conversation scale, it was about an 8.3. For reference purposes, that's slightly above two french men talking about the weather (7.8 usually, perhaps a 8.0 if they are farmers) but a little less histrionic than a mexican soap opera (at least an 8.5, more if there's an evil twin involved). I would say it's roughly on a par with a Zairian peddler who has just been given a lowball offer for his wares (from what I remember of the few who were brave enough to face my mother).

The dinner at the Irish social club on Saturday night was a grand affair - boiled Brussels sprouts, boiled baby carrots, mashed potatos, roast potatos, french fries, roast beef and gravy, and some salad (easily the least popular item, and dripping with creamy dressing). There was also dessert (mostly very sticky and or creamy cakes and fruit pies crusted with sugar).

I am honestly NOT kidding about the menu. I swear.

It was good solid food, tasty and plentiful. They met my two main criteria for a good meal. The roast potatos were not quite the best I have ever tasted (my father would disown me if I disrespected his crispy roast potatos) but they were easily the best mass-produced spuds I have had.

After dinner entertainment consisted of three guys singing traditional Irish songs about British evilness (and not so traditional ones about (n)One Tree Hill). Because I am a polite guest, I resisted the temptation to point out after the second rendition of "Rifles of the IRA" that we won and the IRA soon won't have rifles any more (assuming they are telling the truth).

I am now convinced chronic lateness is a feature of any country colonised by the British. I think it's revenge. Just look - New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, India, Jamaica, etc, are all famous for being rather lacadaisical in their attitude to starting times. Canada isn't as bad, but only because they have been culturally colonised by the Americans who have a strong German influence (just look at what they find funny, and their penchant for uniforms).

We lost the final. I hate losing. Let's not talk about it.

There's a little bit of truth in the saying that as long as you can walk off the field knowing you did everything you could, then you can feel happy. As long as happy is defined as "not completely wretched", then it's true. It's still not fun though.

Anyway, I got stuff to catch up on.

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