Written by: Patrick Lillie
I have to say, since I’ve been in Dublin, I’ve seen sports in a whole new light. I don’t have a TV and there is a huge time zone difference, so the only way I can stay up to date on sports in America are looking at scores and articles on ESPN.com. Being a sport enthusiast, I need to get a good dosage of professional competition in my life. That being said, I’ve gained a lot of interest in the popular sports of Ireland such as the Gaelic games, golf, rugby and soccer.
During my stay, I have made it to several exciting sporting events which made for some good craic to talk about. You may be wondering by now, “what is craic”? When there is something exciting to talk about, such as what happened the previous weekend or simply something fun going on, the Irish call that craic. Every morning, particularly after a weekend, my workers would say to me when I got to work “Whats the craic?” when asking how my weekend was.
The Gaelic games consist of Hurling and Football. The Gaelic games are set up so that each county in the Republic of Ireland (26 in all) has their own team. Whichever county you were born is the team you stick with. Period. That means no fair-weather Yankee fans here! One of the first weeks I was here, I went to the Hurling final between County Dublin vs. County Kilkenny. Living and working in Dublin, it only made sense that I cheer for their team; unfortunately, they got clobbered by Kilkenny.
The craic of one weekend occurred in Sandwich, England. The oldest of the four major golf championships, the British Open was located at Royal St Georges which is right the coast of the North Sea. A few other interns and I decided it was absolutely necessary to make it to this event during a weekend. I would like to give a shout out to the OSU interns located in London as they let us stay with them Friday night (Already, I am benefitting from the connections being made at our great university!!) Once we got to the Open, a huge rainstorm came in and continued to practically be a monsoon for hours. I was so soaked I thought for a second the course was actually in the North Sea rather than on the golf course! Along with the low 50° temperatures and +25 MPH winds, I couldn’t tell if I was shaking with pure excitement of seeing the best, like McIlroy, Fowler, Lefty, and Luke Donald for being at the Open or just because it was freezing (Most likely because I was freezing)! Needless to say, that was an awesome experience to see all of golf’s best playing (Sorry Tiger, you just aren’t up to par with the best anymore-pun intended) in the toughest conditions. In the end, Darren Clarke, a golfer from Northern Ireland won his first major. Everyone in Ireland was happy about his win, which made for some real good craic!