The day you begin your adventure in college is the day you realise that everyone who ever told you that 'school days are the best of your life,' was a liar. Life really begins when you get to the third level, and if you get involved with a sports team, the experience is all the more heightened.
But there is something about the GAA that takes us to the bedrock of our culture and reinforces everything that makes us proud to be Irish. And when you step inside the dressing room of a college GAA team, all the eccentric characters from the four corners of the country are there.
If you're lucky, you might win some silverware with these girls, but funnily enough, the nuggets of success are not what spring to mind when you think about them. It's the images of team nights out that descended into messy territory, or evenings spent in conversation about nothing, in that one house where everyone seemed to congregate, that turn out to be the most important in the end.
But whatever way you choose to look back on your days with the college GAA team, you will all recall those stereotypes that no team could be without.
The Overly Enthusiastic One
Before launching into an attack on this player, it’s worth pointing out that she means well. However, their body is being massacred a thousand different ways inside the minds of every other team member, whenever she opens her trap.
This is the kind of insecure girl who regularly contributes to the team Facebook page with something along the lines of ‘Hey guys, can everyone post song suggestions for our motivation CD please? Thanks a heap, see ya at training XOXO.’ And when they’re not contemplating what their next Facebook post should be, they’re organising team bonding days on the WhatsApp group.
Every college has their own respective anthem that is strictly reserved for, the bus journey home after matches, during the pre-drink portion of a night out, and in between bites in the chipper after it.
The lyrics don't make any sense and there is little to no symbolism involved, but this chant has existed in the college for generations so you're obligated to belt it out. And it’s always that one girl who embodies everything good about the team, that leads the rendition for the first few bars before the rest of the panel joins in to give an emotional performance.
The Drinking Player With A Football Problem
This is the player who has a fondness for the sauce. And considering that every match, training session and team meeting is punctuated by a visit to the local haunt, they’re entitled to see it as an extension of the team’s home stomping ground.
The One Who Shifts The Manager
Oh it looks like someone misplaced her inhibitions again after yet another clatter of Jagerbombs. And even though it’s unlikely that she’s going to find them inside the walls of her manager’s mouth, she’s going to have a search there anyway. Luckily for her, the only thing she has to worry about is the chorus of abuse she’s going to receive from the other players for the rest of eternity.
The Stressed Out Player Who Has To Run The Club
There is precious little interest from outside parties to get involved in the running of a College Ladies GAA team, meaning that the one of the players has to take up the responsibility. And between organising all the training sessions and chasing down the players who repeatedly don’t turn up, the perils of this job quickly suck the life out of whoever volunteers for it. As for her chances of passing the semester, well they're firmly in the floor right now.
The One Who’s Only There For The Gear
This is the girl whose interest in GAA is non-existent and probably never even played it before she came to college and befriended a few girls with a genuine passion for it. She rarely turns up for training and is somewhat bereft of any natural talent. But she will happily wear the gear around campus to give off the impression that she’s an integral cog in the team.
The Silent But Deadly One
Normally sits in the corner of the dressing room, quietly readying herself for training without much fuss. A purist GAA player, this girl would never be caught donning sports gear considered to be flash or glamorous. And once the ball is thrown in, she surprises everyone by roasting her opponent.
The Useless Player That Never Gets Dropped
This type of player doesn't just manage to infest a college team, they’re likely to crop up in every GAA club. Put plainly, players of this nature have no business stepping onto a pitch, but they've managed to make allies of the manager as well as a few of the key players to ensure their grip of the jersey is secure.
The One Who Feigns Modesty
You quickly learn to stop congratulating this girl whenever she has a good game. You’re not even halfway through the compliment when she interjects with something like ‘Oh my God, are you joking? I was crap. But you were class though.’
It’s very disheartening to hear a girl speak so harshly about herself, but what you don’t know is that she’s actually thinking, ‘Yeah, damn straight I had a good game. Actually I'm the best player on this team, why aren't you saying that as well? You’re an awful jealous bi***h, aren't ya?’
The One Who Turns Up Out Of Nowhere
Normally, the new recruits - or first years, as they’re more commonly known - tend to arrive at their first training session in packs, rather than on their own. But there’s always that one mysterious girl who just wanders in out of nowhere. Maybe she lost interest after that one training session, or perhaps she took a wrong turn on her way back to Narnia. But whatever the circumstances were, that girl never darkened the door of the dressing room again