Global Downturn Means Local Upturn in YUMIES at Training

There are many symptoms of the credit crunch around the country these days. There’s been much talk about admission prices to GAA Championship matches being too high and club fundraising being badly hit. But, as always, when Mammon closes a door, someone else opens a window.

In our club, we’ve noticed a new and not altogether unwelcome trend. What’s that you ask? Well, there’s more Young Under-8 Mammies In Every Saturday than ever before. YUMIES we’ll call them and yep, if its glamour you want, our indoor sessions are the place to be. And because they are there our coaching cohort is rising in direct proportion to the glamour quotient.

The economics? Well, previously YUMIES would have considered the Saturday morning training session the perfect time for a bit of retail therapy. Mugs like myself were unwitting accomplices to the Celtic Tiger in that we coached the kids so that the YUMIES could shop till they dropped. But now, with times harder, belts tighter and the credit card well and truly crunched, shredded and in the bin, the YUMIES need something else to do of a Saturday morning.

And what better way to pass the time than to cheer on every kick from young Seamus who, God help him, was born with the co-ordination of a baby giraffe on ice. His ma doesn’t see that tho’. Or the sad and sorry case of Finbar Fogarty who has recurring goldfish syndrome – every time something is explained to him he instantly forgets it – an invaluable skill in the intriguing world of international espionage but useless in the cut and thrust of an Under 8 Blitz. Still, he’s the apple of mother’s eye. Likewise young Gervaise Johnston whose father hails from Cheshire, thereby fuelling the misguided suspicion of at least one of our coaches that gaelic games are an inherited and inherent feature of the ‘Irish condition’. For them a drop of English blood is enough to taint the prospects of a successful club career. Us progressive thinkers argue our point, but young Gervaise unwittingly and effortlessly proves the opposite each time he tries to kick a ball. His sweet and fragrant mother looks on, unconcerned.

Our club decided to ignore worries about player burnout and bans on collective training – all so that we could continue our Under 8 coaching programme over the winter months. During the summer we traipsed our intrepid young team around the County with the usual mix of enjoyment and abject disillusionment. The former generated through watching all the kids build their game sense as the summer progressed, passing, moving, shooting when it was time to shoot and generally learning the ways of the gaelic warrior but most of all enjoy it. The disillusionment brought on by the occasional moron on the sideline that should know better.

Anyhow, we decided our players needed the winter practice to avoid the hedonistic attractions of foreign games and to fend off the bushrangers with the oval balls that might seek to steal our Under 8s from before our eyes. Further motivation was provided by one particular match when the opponents, dressed all in black were seen spraying on Lynx deodorant before the game and listening intently to Al Pacino exhort them to look for the inches all around them. The black Under Armour skins they all wore and the crates of energy drinks told us all we needed to know about shamateurism amongst the Under 8s.

Not that we wished to join them, or even necessarily beat them. Big hallions of cubs with scary black gear smelling of perfume don’t scare our fellas. Not when we are the better ball players – and we are. That’s a good place to be but only one way to get there. Winter indoor training.

Besides all that – we now have a secret weapon. The YUMIES. Such was the exotic and beguiling fragrance of one of the YUMIES as she floated past that Packie, a grizzled veteran of the County team with twenty three years on the senior squad, lost the run of himself mid team talk to the young fellas and muttered “Bejaze”, eyes a- glazed. Another young lady, a market researcher by profession I’m told, politely asked one of the coaches if she could record the number of touches each player had on her BlackBerry to see if there were any trends. He was overcome, beguiled even and could only mutter “yes, that’s fine.” One young executive had brought her laptop to training. We discovered afterwards she was downloading drills from the GAA website for one of the coaches. Another parent, herself an athlete of some renown, offered to assist the actual coaching. Her coaching attire raised many’s an eyebrow amongst other things but when she demonstrated how to bend and lift, the coaching session stopped and jaws dropped in wonder and amazement.

The matter of the YUMIES was discussed at a committee meeting. Some claimed they were a distraction. Other claimed this was a visible asset – greater parental involvement. The acid test was when a leading ladies designer store ran a bumper retail event offering all manner of finery, at a ridiculously attractive price. To a woman our cohort of YUMIES turned up at training – this one bringing fruit juice, that one bringing snacks, the other recording stats. Our statuesque coach doing her thing and the rest being generally helpful.

Credit Crunch? What Credit Crunch? These YUMIES have just discovered a whole new way of living. And don’t they just love it!

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