Friday, 10 September 2010

One ‘No’ too many - it's not easy being teen!

Last Wednesday night I was walking down the pub to meet my mate for a pint. 
Towering dark shower clouds were speeding across the blue sky above Galway Bay, the low Autumn sun dazzling my eyes. People of all shapes, sizes and speeds were striding along the Prom.

For a moment all was right with my world.

Deciding to cut across the park I chose a diagonal path next to a flat sweep of lush Irish lawn. Passing a signpost I found myself swinging my head back to see what it said.

No Littering. 
No Camping. 
No Ball Sports.

Aye and triple aye to the first ‘No’. Can’t stand the way ye lads litter up your own country. To an alien like this Englishman it seems sometimes you’re not proud enough of what you fought so long to own.

As for the second ‘No’, well, yeh, I suppose it wouldn’t be right for random hosteleros to pitch camp willy nilly. Wouldn’t worry me, to be honest, but I can see that causing trouble with some types.

But ‘No’ as in ‘No Ball Sports?’
My heart, so freshly risen and daring to feel joy instantly dropped and felt damaged.

Yes yes I know that there are nearby roads and balls might run out into those roads and people might get killed and cars might have pile ups.
And yes I know that the grass is there for everyone not just young people and it might end up getting a bit muddy if people played ball sports on it after rain.

But in truth, there aren’t that many cars near this beautiful flat stretch of deep green grass.
And mud is not a rare commodity  in Ireland.

And sad to say, there aren’t any people in the park to be upset about anything. It’s as empty as a politician’s promise.

There are no raggle taggle teams of teenagers here kicking a football around. No pairs of brothers holding hurleys banging a ball. 
No clash of ash. 
No sliding tackles. 
No laughs. 

Nothing. Nobody.

It’s not easy being teen. 
If you stay at home playing Xbox all day you’re told you’re useless and need to go out a get a life. 
If you go out you need money and if you have money you’ll buy a bottle of Buckie which you’ll drink in the park when nobody’s looking. Then you’ll get drunk and throw up or get into a fight and then you’ll be told that you were useless and that you need to go home and get a life.

It’s confusing. And being a teen is confusing enough without authority figures being confusing on top of it all.

What we used to do when we were teens was get a ball and go down the park for a bit of a kick about. 
If it was just me and my mate we’d play penalties.
If there was 3 of us we played 3-and-In, where you’re in goal ‘til one of the other lads scores three goals, and then he’s in goal.
4 lads meant 2-a-side, game on, we’d got ourselves a match. 
Any more than 4 was pure heaven, which could only be improved upon if the older lads turned up , when we played out of our skins to try and impress them.

Now there are no teens playing football in the park. 
One ‘No’ too many.
Teens hear a lot of ‘No’s.
Bit of a kick about with a ball?
Crying bloody shame.


johnbendel said...

I totally agree. We desperately need to involve teens in physical activity, team games and just getting out all that aggression in other ways. With Ireland being so dedicated to so many sports, many of which nobody else in the world plays or understands, it is wrong to ban the age old "kick around".

Charlie Adley said...

As far as the Irish mystery sports are concerned, at least the Irish have the humility to call their GAA Finals the 'All Irelands' rather than the 'World Series'!

And no, I'm not just bashing Americans today, (see comments posted on piece below!), I love Americans. Just can't stand delusions of grandeur.

Anjali Gaur said...

I dont know abt the issues in your country..but yes your writing is quite are able to retain the interest of the reader till the end...i enjoyed reading...

Charlie Adley said...


Thanks for your kind words. Usually comments are made about the content of the blog, so it is especially rewarding to hear that you enjoy my writing.

I suspect that some issues in this country are universal - in the case of this post, the erosion of our freedoms by those who forgot that they are elected to serve us, not govern us.

Just Plain Tired said...

A park without ball playing kids isn't much of a park where I come from. Too many kids sit in front of a computer or video games as it is. Playing ball in a park would be good thing.

Charlie Adley said...

So true, Just Plain Tired. Playing ball in the park is a natural and simple pleasure.

Trouble is, when you can actually 'be' Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney (excuse my out of datedness here, but Joe Montana and Jerry Rice to you) playing football on your TV, the allure of running around, sweating and getting really messy wanes in the teen mind.

Far from banning it, the Irish should be kicking their teen butts outdoors and introducing the real pleasure of the game to them.