Against the odds, one loneswimmer and the football hordes

Ireland loves football. So does your country you say. Soccer, Aussie Rules or NFL, whatever.

Ireland likes all football: Soccer, rugby, compromise (Aussie) rules, Gaelic football. All have huge followings. That outnumbers your single national football version. And the biggest is Gaelic football, which is only played within the country and is better supported than religion.

Blog Awards Finalist

Someone submitted to Blog Awards Ireland this year (2012). So it’s me against the football hordes. No, I’m not looking for a vote. Thankfully there is no voting, because online voting, as you all know, is nonsense.

I knew nothing about it until someone Tweeted me that I was on the Longlist for four categories. Then I made the Shortlist on three categories. Then I made the Finalists of four entries for Sports & Recreation. Each time I found out from someone else. I guess Sports & Recreation is a valid category, since there’s no specific Talking Crap about Swimming from the Middle of Nowhere award. Yet. They really should fix that.

We went and took a few pictures for fun. Well it wasn’t for fun per se, it was to try to get two tickets for the award ceremony. This isn’t Tinsletown after all. Tinsletown in the Rain, more like.

Tinseltown in the rain, all men and women.

Here we are, caught up in this big rhythm…

…But it’s easy come and it’s easy go.

All this talking is only bravado.

When Dee tried to enter the photos, she discovered they’d closed the competition before they announced the finalists who might want to be there. Cart -> Horse. Funny.

You want to know what the number one rule of blogging is? Actually that’s not relevant here. But a rule from further down the list is…

No-one reads your blog on Saturday.

Not quite no-one, but usually less than 50% of your daily average. Bloggers, never publish a post on Saturday. Guess when Blog Awards Ireland put out their list of finalists? Yes, Saturday. I may possibly be the only one who finds this hilarious. 🙂

But as I said, we took some pics, and they’re of a use-once-only type. So this post is entirely to find an excuse to use them. (Note to self: Pretend you didn’t see this picture below, you’ll sleep better.)

Here’s a fun picture. Swimming over to Ballyheigue, as the rock at the far side of the Guillamenes Cove is called, for no apparent reason other than every damn tree, field and individual rock in Ireland has a name, to take a photo, the water pulled the laminate and Dee caught the image perfectly.There was quite a bit of movement in the water, about two metres of mixed chop and swell and it was windy and grey.

So anyway, back to the football hordes. More power to them I guess. But it seems highly unlikely I’ll have a chance against the football hordes. And it’s not that important, just nice, as they say, to get this far.

Open water swimming is a minority sporting niche in a minority sport. It’s a sport when I train, sport when I race, but that’s not all. It’s part of my life. It is life. Open water swimmers are not defined by watching, so much as we are defined by doing, individually and in groups, solo and with friends. A couple of years ago I started this blog by saying open water swimming is an individual expression of freedom. Sometimes I think it may be an essential expression of freedom. In this constrained world, few people know the freedom experienced by stepping off a shore and casting oneself into the blue, grey or green.

An open water swimmer is Billy Kehoe, 85 years of age, President of the Newtown and Guillamene swimming club, swimming daily (when the conditions allow) for over 70 years. Billy doesn’t think of open water swimming as a sport.

And most of you readers come from outside Ireland anyway.

Still, the point of the whole thing, I guess, is that a conjunction of critical and popular acclaim is nice. will reach 200,000 readers around the new year, assuming I’m still writing it, and that’s not always certain and the appreciation of readers will always be the most important measurement. Making that finalist list I guess, I may be wrong, means there’s some independent merit visible from outside the core swimmers.

All that mattered to me since I began is to be honest in what I write, and try to make it useful. To that end I’ve put up with significant “slagging” to use an Irish term, “ribbing”  would be an alternative word. I guess that the blog is still occasionally on target because you good folks keep putting up with me. Oh, by the way, I rarely think of you when I’m writing. It’s just me here. If I try to direct stuff, it goes wrong mostly. I write for the me from the past, what the me who knew nothing about open water swimming would have wanted to know. I think as that past me as my audience. That seems narcissistic, it’s not meant to be. And then, because of the blog, I’ve gotten to report on a world record, crew for a friend and to feature the words of many great and interesting swimmers in the Guest Article series. I’ve already won a lot from this.

Below is our favourite picture from this series. As usual Dee is the invisible backroom engine who keeps me and therefore this blog going.

I got free goggles from the blog once.

12 thoughts on “Against the odds, one loneswimmer and the football hordes

  1. Congratulations on the nomination…I always enjoy reading your stuff., I especially enjoyed your recent Trent Grimsey series. It must have been incredible to witness such an event.

    Keep up the good work..


  2. Love the blog, also the only blog I read. Have gone from wetsuit swim in the spring to skins at the end of the summer… your blog has taught me a lot, inspired & made me smile. Hope you keep blogging whatever the result of the awards, though obviously you should win


  3. I have been reading your blog for about 6 months now and have learned so much. As a beginning open water swimmer most of the articles you list as banal are exactly what I need. The exciting swim accounts have made me breathless and are the stuff of dreams.

    Thank you and keep writing please!


  4. Love the last shot. Reminds me of a photo I took scuba diving once looking back towards the boat. Your writing/blogging/rambling connect me to a place I love. Open water & the sunny south east.


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