To say I’m not into sport is a huge understatement. While I always liked the uniform that went with the sport, it was the effort that had to be exerted, the sweat that was worked up and the fact that you could get hurt that didn’t appeal to me. My sister on the other hand was brilliant at whatever sport she turned her hand to, well almost all. She had a bit of an issue with cycling and that’s all I’m going to say about that! She was a huge GAA fan; her room was covered from ceiling to floor with posters of the Dublin team. No big deal you may say, however, when I tell you we grew up in Navan you’ll understand just how dedicated she was to her team and county. From the moment we moved to Navan she was planning her great escape back to the big smoke.
Although there was only us two girls in the Byrne house Dad never wanted for company to watch a match. I’d usually just clear out for the duration but big sis would sit down and enjoy the game. I’m not saying that I didn’t try to get into sport. I tried. But two major injuries sustained during the trying managed to finally convince me that sport just wasn’t my thing. The first injury was two badly grazed knees sustained while reaching for the ball on the basketball court and the second was a sliothar to the forehead while camoige training.
My husband is almost as sporty as me so you can imagine our surprise when our second child was born kicking a football! As I had to have a C-section under anaesthetic I’ll be totally honest and tell you that there are times when I wonder if I was given the wrong baby, but Darren insists that we got the right one.
My eight year old has been living the Euros since they started. His whole waking day is football. When he’s not watching the matches he’s in the garden playing them. This morning while myself and his big sister where getting their Dad’s special Father’s Day breakfast together she noticed the aerial on the car was broken. The peculiar thing was that the aerial was lying neatly next to the hole it should have been inserted in. Now I’m sure this is a common Sunday morning occurrence in many housing estates around the country. We live miles from the main road; no one could just be casually passing our car, so I was really puzzled. Then I noticed how quiet the boy child was. I asked him if maybe his football could have knocked the aerial over. Two big tears ran down his face. Needless to say, our hearts went out to him and we explained it could be fixed and sat down to have our breakfast. However, I was instantly transported to a garden in Kilcarn Court many, many summers ago.
I don’t know why I was kicking a burst basketball around the garden. My Dad was inside watching some football match or other. I think it may have been the Euros of the time. There were roars of disappointment mixed with shouts of delight and much advise been doled out to the lads on the TV somewhere in the world. The burst basketball was going everywhere but the direction I was kicking it in.
The kitchen window had the same dimensions as the backdoor. My favourite thing to do was climb into the house through it. Not because there was no one home and I had no key, just because I wanted to. I can’t recall the amount of times the glass in the bottom half of the window had been replaced. Kicking your toes of glass isn’t great for getting a grip to push yourself up. As I kicked the ball about I noticed how the wire in the window glinted in the sun. Mammy Byrne had decided, the last time it was broken, that we needed reinforced glass. Next thing I knew there was the sound of shattering glass mingled with an unmerciful roar from the sitting room.
I nearly died with fright! I ran. Not away from the house and the loud roar, I wasn’t that clever back then! No, I ran in the door and up the stairs. When I got into my room I hid under my bed. I have no idea how long I was there. I just remember feeling a little confused. The roaring I had heard at the precise moment the glass shattered was still going on but it hadn’t moved from the sitting room. Very odd indeed. The roaring stopped and Mammy Byrne arrived back and good lord, what a roar…………It slowly dawned on me that the roar I’d heard when I was in the garden was nothing to do with me and my window smashing. It had been my Dad celebrating a goal. Mammy Byrne’s roar was altogether shriller and scream like. It was also accompanied with ‘K AARREEEENNNNN BYRNEEEE, GET DOWN HERE NOW’. Oh, Mammy Byrne could obviously smell fear!
The Euros huh? They bring out the Schillaci in us all, even those of us who hate sport!