On Sunday, Sept 6 2009, my dad's home county of Kilkenny, Ireland made history winning 4 All Ireland Hurling Championships in a row. Cork did it back in the 1940's but there is some story of it not being a true 4th year win for them because of Foot and Mouth Disease. Really, if anyone is interested, I'll tell them the story one on one. If anyone doesn't know what Hurling is, click here for a description. It is a pretty awesome game to watch. I don't know many of the rules, and kind of question if there are many rules at all.
What it all boils down to for me, the daughter of Irish parents, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there is a huge Irish population, is that I have a reason to get up at 6am on a Sunday and go to the Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco with my kids, husband, sisters, and cousins and watch a live feed of the game as it happens in Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland.
As good as the last 10 minutes of the game were (because for a time there it looked like Tipperary was going to win it), I think a lot of the enjoyment came from the people that were there watching with us. When you are in a room full of people who are rooting for one of 2 teams, and one of those teams is from the county your father was born in, you can't help but wonder if you are distantly related to a lot of those people. Or, your relatives in Ireland are neighbors with their relatives. I'm pretty sure that a few of those people thought the same because they approached us and introduced themselves as though they should know these newcomers to the room, afterall, we might just be cousins. We Irish are friendly folk. Fact is, I am sure they all knew my dad. It is rare to meet any Irish in SF who do not know Matt Shaw. If my dear old dad wasn't actually in Croke Park AT the game, he would have been with us at the Irish Cultural Center and we would not have stuck out as unfamiliar faces sitting next to him.
Anyhow, we all dressed in our Black and Amber (Kilkenny's colors), painted cat faces on the kids (Kilkenny's Mascot is the Cat), and headed in to the dreary Sunset District of SF to watch the game. I don't think I have ever made any effort to get up early, dress in a teams colors, and try to support their mascot before. It is fun to do when you cen get your kids involved in the dress up! All I had to do was put on a team jersey. The kids got their whiskers painted on with black eye liner and had their finger nails painted the night before.
Off we go to support our team!