I know I’ve hinted at it before, but this is your daily reminder: I definitely have a drop of Irish blood. Don’t let the primarily ethnic Indian complexion fool you. No arguing over that. So, naturally, I was at Fenway Park at 11 A.M. today for AIG’s Hurling Classic 2015 and Irish Festival (my breakfast of champions consisted of Fenway fries and Cracker Jack).
Hurling is an Irish sport that I learned on my study abroad trip to Dublin through Experience Gaelic Games. Hurling and Gaelic football together are played on every inch of Ireland because they’re amazing and indigenous to the land. A little breakdown of the sports is probably in order because they’re extremely complicated to the untrained eye (hairflip, hairflip). Hurling is the world’s fastest field sport played with a wooden hurl and a lot of contact that leaves newbies confused and gasping in the sight of shoulder-to-shoulder pushing. It’s really no big deal. Gaelic football is a combination of rugby, soccer/football, volleyball, and basketball (I’m probably still missing a few other sport descriptors). Both sports are played together as the Gaelic games and, that’s right, you should shudder in fear. In fact, let’s bold that. Gaelic games.
A few of my friends and I went to a championship opener at Croke Park in Dublin on May 31st. Hurling was Dublin v. Galway and football was Dublin v. Longford. It was cold and rainy that day so we all huddled under our rain jackets, taking out our hands to clap for a few one-pointers and cheer on goals. We were Dublin fans, surrounded by what seemed to be the entire population of Galway country, and but we shared laughs with everyone as they watched us struggle through the cold. That was some camaraderie we just didn’t expect to have across both teams (though I’m not sure why I would think that, it was Ireland, and everyone is unbelievably nice there).
Today was just hurling, and it was ironically the same pairing of Dublin v. Galway. A rematch, if you will. A chance to relive that wonderful experience. Kira and I went and cheered on Dublin back behind third base at Fenway Park, in the best seats I’ve had there yet. Final score: Galway 50 –Dublin 47. The teams ran out near the audience and we got to high-five all of the Galway team after #27 of Dublin, all of whom were incredibly beautiful human beings. Like all Nicks. To add to that, the Dropkick Murphys performed for an extra hour in the pouring rain. True troopers as the guitar was electrocuted, and they were told to stop playing. Their response? “Well, I guess we’ll have to cut some songs, but hell no are we getting off the stage.” [insert thick Boston accent]
Like that day in Dublin, today left a huge smile on my face. It was a cold day, but the whole event warmed my heart. I miss Ireland. Dublin was a place I never wanted to leave (just ask my study abroad sistas about the very real tears I shed on our flight back) and I got a taste of it today in Boston. No one was sitting in the Green Monster seats, but Fenway Park felt full. Not just because of the 25,000 other enthusiasts in the stands. This game happened for the first time in about 60 years at Fenway Park, and that’s a little piece of history I got to witness today. Some Irish pride here in Boston; you guys can still believe we’re an extension of your country, Ireland, we concede.