Real Sport

“Did you see that video on Facebook Donal? Complete tool”.
“I mean what the hell Donal, is your sport all gobshites like that?”
“It doesn’t matter you don’t use Facebook. It was on the news last night as well. Here it is here on my phone. Look!”
“What kind of a fool goes swimming in a storm? There was a marine red alert and all! I saw that on the Twittter machine.”
“That auld lad going in at Blackrock pier right in the middle of it! The whole of Galway watching. The whole country now! I’d hate to be that lad, he’ll get crucified.”
“Wind blowing like crazy. Look at that water. Like a washing machine. And look, climbing down the ladder but probably couldn’t even walk properly on land. Speedoes on him an’ all, like a young lad. Jesus Donal. Middle of the winter too. Wouldn’t catch me doing that.No! Not in summer either!”
“Make ’em pay. Making Rescue Services risk their lives for idiots. Who ever thinks of the Rescue Services?  You’re putting the Rescue Services at risk. Rescuing idiots. What the hell do you think the Coast Guard is for? You know what? They really should pay.”
“Yeah, seriously.”
“I went swimming during my holidays in Portugal last year. Bloody freezing. Colder than Ireland, I’m certain. Oh, lasted about five minutes. I’m pretty sure they ended up in my throat. Such a stupid sport, why do you do it?”
“Look, I don’t care. Any fool causing a Rescue Service to go out for them should pay afterwards.”
“No, not you, Donal, that’s different. That auld lad though. He’s different than you.”
“Different is right. Different-different, yeah. Ha.”
“I agree Peter. But horse-whipping, I think. No, hang on, seriously. Seriously.  I think we should bring back horse-whipping for them. You think the Rescue Services are cheap? I want the Universal Social Charge tax gone off my pay packet, and we’ll never get that back while we’re paying for helicopter rescues for idiots. Well obviously, yes. Politicians too.”
“Well, I don’t know Donal, I didn’t see the video with the woman swimming. Elderly lady? Well, I guess she shouldn’t be flogged. Make her pay though.”
“Yeah, Donal, but you’re a mad feckin’ bolshevik, we all know that. Worst possible combination.”
“Look Donal we’ve heard your joke about wearing speedoes right now a hundred times.”
“More like a thousand times… I don’t care if Mary sniggers, it was never funny and she has a bit of a grá for you, it doesn’t count.”
What do I think they should do? Well I think their job is to go out for sinking ships, searches and emergency medical transfers. Right Tom? John? Agree?”
“No Donal, they should never put their lives at risk. Well, I suppose, yes, I guess they understand it’s a possibility when they sign up. But they are heroes and volunteers all. Not auld idiots in winter. Not idiots like you even.”
“My daughter? I don’t know. The ambulance didn’t cost anything. Yeah, she was fine afterwards. Yeah, she’s been fine since. Two years and three months old now, touch wood. Your head.”
“No, I don’t know that. Why is the cost of ambulance in America relevant?”
“No Donal. That comparison is stupid. Look paying to get a taxi instead of an ambulance because you can’t afford the American Health system has nothing to do with it. Okay, yes it’s mad. But it’s not the same.”
“It’s a storm. Shouldn’t be going out. Blanket rule. Make them pay.”
“Well I can tell you if I was watching, I would call Emergency on him.Can’t wait, just in case, I’d have it on my conscience.”
“No, why should I pay for calling them out for him?  Don’t be absurd Donal.”
“Okay, look, I suppose there’s a small chance that someone might not call them in that circumstance. But now you are being argumentative.”
“Okay, okay. Look. Maybe charging for rescue services might, might I say, be a problem. Okay, you might be right. Look, I don’t think you can say Donal that charging for rescue services will cause lives to be lost but okay, for now, I haven’t had enough time to think about it for sure though.”
“Okay, well that doesn’t sound like it makes a difference. A storm is a storm. I don’t know. How can I tell what direction the wind is blowing in the wind?”

“Well yes, Galway in the north side of the bay. I don’t know what direction it faces. West?”

A winter’s dawn at Galway’s Blackrock swimming & diving pier

“Why does it matter if it’s south? And why does the wind direction matter? It’s all about the strength. Eveyone know wind strength is the only important thing”
“Look Donal, none of that matters. It’s a storm. In the Atlantic, in winter. And I bet he’s on the pension for feck sake.. He should have some cop-on.”
“Not if he’s an older version of Donal. Donal has no cop-on now, imagine how bad he’ll get.”
“Okay, look you are being pedantic Donal. Okay, maybe it is a sandy bottom. Maybe it is sheltered behind the pier from the Atlantic storms. The wind direction is irrelevant. It’s winter. It’;s cold. It’s a storm.  Okay. He might get killed.
“Well, I’d get drownded.”
“But the waves are breaking on the dive platform. Look, if there are waves just over there, and he is going in, then he’s not safe.”
“Yeah but he’s a much aulder lad, he can’t be that great a swimmer and I don’t care what you say, that stuff isn’t important.”
“All I’m saying is something should be done. Every winter it’s the same.”
“You’re just being a bloody weirdo again Donal.”
“Anyway, we banned you from talking about swimming during lunch and here you are at it again. Shut up Donal.”
“Hey, lads, great weekend of football on the telly coming up. Real sport, yeah. You know what United’s manager should do?”

A winter storm hitting Doolin Bay and Crab Island, seen from above Doonagore Castle, with the Aran Islands in the distance


4 thoughts on “Real Sport

  1. Felt like I was eavesdropping at the next table. Wonderful exchange.

    As a rule, people are idiots about open water swimming. My training partner and I came back from a predawn swim in Lake Erie to find police anxiously waiting for us at the beach. Someone had called to say we were drowning. I know my stroke can look a little ragged, but seriously?


  2. Hi Donal, That was funny. I’ve had a few run in on this topic over the years. No point arguing with the self righteous. I reckon it’s as much to do with envy as the general nanny state syndrome that’s taking over everything. By the way … that wonderful photo of Doolin Bay is my swim area … you can’t beat it on a fine rough day.

    Great site and thanks for that and the newsletters,



  3. Loved that piece. Wondered how you were getting on down there so glad to hear you are still out and about. Apologies for the ‘down there’ comment, but ya know, Kildare is further north than Waterford, so instinctively it’s ‘down’ and not ‘up’, though neither makes any sense at all.

    Swimming much? Great pics, by the way.


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