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Talking football (soccer) in Ireland

Kilkenny Ireland, Spring 2002 —

As of the Summer of 2007, I have finally lost all sense of humo(u)r about sitting and listening to lads talk about soccer. It's insipid, insensitive, and I'm tired of hearing it....

When the boys want to talk about football — or soccer* — you'd better let 'em. Indeed, you'd best either join in or give up the next 20 minutes of conversation — minimum.

And I'm not exaggerating, either, not a bit.

In fact, this dictum applies only in a normal circumstance; now, on the verge of the World Cup, it's only going to get worse.

The other evening in the small pool room at Syd's, the lads got on the subject. I've seen it before, and I knew that nobody would talk about anything else for some time; it would be impossible, and any effort futile. So I just shut up and didn't pay them any mind.

It reminded me of some of the nights in Seville, especially early in my time there, when I couldn't understand more than a stray word — and whaddaya do? You say nothing. You either listen and learn, or you go about your own private thoughts. It's another language.
Kilkenny, Ireland, May 2002

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* In Ireland, as in the U.S., the term "soccer" is often prefered over the
Euro-English "football."

Here, the term "football" can also mean "Gaelic football." (otherwise called "gaa,") an Irish game similar to a soccer/rugby hybrid.

The term "gaa" refers to the Gaelic Athletic Association, a body which oversees the various sports that are unique to Ireland.

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