Diarmuid Lyng speaks beautifully about the meaning behind the humble hurley in a manner that will stir the emotions of even the most hard-nosed fan of the ash.
Diarmuid 'Gizzy' Lyng is undoubtedly one of the more interesting Irish sporting characters out there. To describe Lyng as "not your typical hurler" would be inadequate, for Diarmuid Lyng is just not your typical Irishman. The fact that he is good mates with Tony Griffin, the former Clare hurler who took a year out at the peak of his career to cycle across Canada in aid of cancer, probably says it all. If you're still not convinced, have a look at Lyng's 'Hurling Around The World' video in which he pucks a sliotar in places as diverse as Mao Square, Tibet, the Himalayas and Times Square.
Lyng has played hurling at the highest level (representing Wexford with distinction in Croke Park), has driven himself to exhaustion due to his obsession with the game and has travelled around the world with hurley in hand. So it's fair to say that he is well qualified to speak on the matter of what hurling represents and the significance of the instrument central to its playing: the humble hurl.
Lyng was speaking at a TEDx Talk in Wexford and spoke eloquently for nine minutes about his philosophy regarding society and how we are living our lives increasingly motivated by the "me" instead of the "we". And at the root of his message was the hurl and what it means to him.
What do we see when we just look at the stick? We see it's made of ash, we see this one is about 35 inches in length, half an inch thick, the grain runs perfectly with the shape of the stick and the grain is quite close together so I would say there's going to be a bit of sturdiness to it.
To my mind, all these things are true of this. But I also see a huge amount more.
I also see my father's arms coming down over my shoulders to show me how to hold it properly. I see my mother standing at the fireplace telling me that if I don't get upstairs and get into the bath she's going to throw it into the fire! I see four brothers fighting for the ball on the sitting room floor.
I also see club, and I see parish and I see community, and I see myself getting the chance to represent that, to run out in Croke Park in front of 60 and 70,000 people who are screaming down at the field...
Lyng goes into more detail on what he sees when he looks at a hurl and it's quite moving, actually, for anyone who loves the game of hurling and can empathise with what he is saying.
It's worth watching the talk in its entirety. Lyng starts talking about hurling around 1:20.