Embracing all that is good about sport
Weird Wide World of Sport
I'm sitting at my desk, looking out at a squally, summer shower through the window and enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet as the young lads have just been bundled off to school.
I have to say I'm a little more relaxed than usual - a week in Wales has lifted the stress from the body and mind and dumped it somewhere amid the waves of the Irish Sea.
A family wedding was the main reason for visiting the principality but, with the young lads in tow, we decided to take the opportunity to sample the delights of the idyllic seaside resort of Tenby for a few days before returning to the humdrum.
Unfortunately, the opening few days of the European Championships has been overshadowed by idiotic hooligan English and Russian 'supporters' but in my current state of zen I'm going to shy away from such morose matters and celebrate the beautiful side of sport.
So like our superb Irish fans I'm going to open my arms wide, dance a little jig and embrace what's good and wholesome.
I'll probably be back to grumbling next week, so before the magic wears off, I'm lauding the top ten reasons that sport lights up my life and reminds me of all things pure, like fairytales and fluffy white bunnies.
10. No matter how trying a day you've had you can switch on a match in whatever code and temporarily forget about all the worries of the world - 70, 80 or 90 minutes of carefree bliss.
9. Characters - Whether it's players or supporters there's always plenty of good old characters to be found.
Of course, you'll hear plenty moaning (myself included, just not this week) about the lack of interesting folk in modern sport, whether it be soccer and Gaelic games or less mainstream sports like darts, snooker and golf.
And of course, 'character' was often a byword for the fella who could consume the most pints and still stand up, so maybe it's not all bad that they're disappearing.
However, you'll still find one or two interesting sorts, although they're now normally donning a peaked cap, sitting in the stand telling you wonderful, colourful tales about how different things were in the olden days.
8. Fresh air - You can't beat it. Particularly for supporters who don't get out too often. It's clearly evident on a cloudy, chilly Sunday afternoon when the stands are illuminated by the stellar glow of nice rosy, weather-beaten cheeks (or a face like a well-slapped arse as my mother eloquently puts it).
7. Health benefits - There's no denying the necessity of involvement in sport for our well being.
Youngsters should be out and about kicking a ball instead of kicking seven shades of shite out of each other on some game they've downloaded.
6. Camaraderie - People forge fantastic friendships through sport. Whether it's playing together or just supporting the same team it gives a common interest and goal.
5. Tribalism - Normally a good thing but can be a negative if taken too far (like certain English and Russian clowns).
Sport brings parishes together as they try to get one over on their snotty upstart neighbours, but knowing where to draw the line is key.
If you find yourself stealing mascots, burning flags or defacing signs you've gone a step too far.
4. Colour - The colour of the jerseys and flags and the colourful language of those watching in the stands.
We've all heard a few classic one-liners shouted by an excited supporter from the sideline.
Unfortunately, any examples that spring to mind are not suitable for a family newspaper.
3. If you're a fan of sport there's pretty much always something to watch on the box.
During the long winter evenings, there's always a match, a bit of snooker, some darts or even a bit of ice hockey to feast your eyes on - anything's better than being stuck looking at Eastenders.
2. National pride - You can't beat our national teams or sports stars enjoying a bit of international success to bring the people together.
Whether you're a fan of soccer or not you'd have to agree that Ireland's appearances in the European Championships and World Cups adds a different dimension to the country, and brings a bit of much-needed excitement.
1. Sport gives yours truly something to pontificate about each week.
Back to the moaning next week, I promise.