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From Namibia to Galway: Harder than it looks

Temperatures are getting colder, but Johan’s determination isn’t.

So, after a whirlwind first week, on to week two we went. The first week jitters were a thing of the past and I found myself not being able to wait for Thursday. To try to get a handle on the whole wanting to pass out thing, I decided to go for a run on Monday and Galway did not disappoint. Cold and wet weather was on the cards, but hey, what can you do? As luck would have it, it was just a little taste of what was to come. You guessed it: that one run did not improve my fitness. Funny how that works.

Thursday, oh Thursday. Welcome to winter in Galway. To put this into perspective: I am from a country where winter happens on a Wednesday somewhere in July. Running around in temperatures close to freezing point on Thursday night, with the added inconvenience of rain, nearly broke my resolve. However, I am guessing that this is nothing new to the locals, just another day on the wonderful Emerald Isle.

Our Sunday session was pretty brutal, especially after doing a drill called the square on Thursday. The square and the endurance run have now gone into my little black book of awful drills. Right alongside the sprint repeat, beep test, and the always lovely 2.4 km for time. Count your blessings if you have not heard those names before, they suck big fat spaghetti and meatballs.

On to the football. My inexperience and shortage of the required skills are becoming a bit painfully obvious. I have studied the techniques on videos and online tutorials, but actually getting out there and doing what the videos describe is breaking my brain. Like I said last week, learning these types of things as an adult is ego-bruising and checking the ego at the door seems to be becoming more and more difficult.


READ | My first week as a Gaelic footballer 

People who look in from the outside and think “hey, I can do that,” or “that doesn’t look that hard,” I can tell you first hand that this stuff is difficult. Not so much the skills, more so the pace at which these skills are performed borders on the insane. Standing around hand‑passing or picking up a stationary ball is a piece of cake, doing it at a jog becomes more tricky but there is still a high success rate. Doing it while running full speed under intense pressure, suddenly you can’t hit water if you fell out of a boat, or you end up with your face in the mud. Ego shattered.

I decided to take up Gaelic Football to stay active and to meet some people. I underestimated how much I would enjoy it. Yes, it has its challenges, but getting something right and having someone tell you you’ve done well makes the pros outweigh the cons by a mile. I find myself wanting to push to play with the best guys in the club – unrealistic I know, but my competitive nature will not let me settle for second best. Which means I will have to do some extra running and skills homework so there will be no more falling on my face.

My greatest accomplishment this week was actually remembering not to pick up the ball with my hands. Baby steps, I guess, are the way to go.  That and scoring a goal are the small victories I am taking out of this week.  Now to see what next week has in store for me.

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