Blogpost by Martin Healy
WE all struggle occasionally with various things. Sometimes it is not just things that we struggle with, it can also be people.
My own particular bugbear is playing sport out of season. Things like playing golf in December, rugby in July or tennis in January. Mind you, we have got used to football all year around but even for football, i think that everyone likes a few weeks off in the summer. I know that at my son’s school, the playground assistants take this summer term thing seriously. They lock away the footballs for the summer term and out come the cricket bats.
Here are my recommendations for the optimum sports calendar:
Feb/Mar. It has got to be 6 nations rugby union, especially the big must see fixtures Wales v England, England v France and of course my beloved Ireland v anyone.
Mar/Apr. it has got to be National hunt racing festival mid March at Cheltenham followed a few weeks later by the Grand National at Aintree.
Apr/May. It has got to be the grande finale to the football season. Who wins the FA cup final. Finish up of the premiership race in terms of champions league places and which teams gets relegated. Semis and final of the european champions league itself are must see matches. I laugh at anyone who says that we should not be in Europe.
What! No Cristiano Renaldo! No Bayern Munich! No Atleticos!
June/July. It has got to be tennis. I watch a bit of Roland Garros to get me in the mood. We try and get to a Wimbledon warm up tournament and then bliss, lawn tennis in SW19 for a fortnight.
I make a huge exception to this seasonal sport thing, once every four years in June/July when the British and Irish Lions rugby team tour. It is a lifelong ambition of mine to tour with the Lions rugby team down under. I must admit that when the Lions play, I watch every minute of every game. Mid week against the provincials and of course the three tests. It’s a sacrifice but someone has to do it.
July. It has got to be the British Open golf championship from lovely places like Lytham st Annes, Carnoustie, or somewhere equally as beautiful.
August/September. Are the Australians over for the Ashes. Am I spending every weekend at Belhus cricket ground in North Stifford. We will have had a couple of visits to Epsom, Sandown and Newmarket to the races.
September is also the month that the hurling and Gaelic Football All Ireland finals are decided.
October/November. We are back to premiership football and the autumn international rugby tests against our Southern Hemisphere cousins.
Dec/Jan. deep dark winter months. Inclement weather can leave pitches unplayable for local games.
Focus for these few months on family and some retail therapy. January is the month to plan holidays, get the tax return done, stay warm and wait for brighter days ahead.
Enjoy your year ahead whether like me you chose to spend it at sport or not.