The backs of the Limerick hurlers will be sore this morning from all the slaps they got from supporters yesterday. Praise and accolades will be coming at them from all angles (see below from today’s Irish Times). They will always remember yesterday’s game, today’s homecoming and all the celebrations.
But over the course of the next few days, in a quiet moment somewhere, someone will utter that famous GAA phrase – “A pat on the back is only six inches away from a kick in the backside”.
In my football days, we were always warned by management not to look at online discussion boards (the social media of 15 years ago), but sometimes temptation would get the better of you.
And when I read something critical about myself, I remember the feeling. An immediate knot in my stomach followed by my brain being taken over with thoughts about these words and the impact they may have. Not being able to concentrate on anything else for a while after.
I would try to rationalise the words.
They were only someone’s opinion. They were written by someone who didn’t know the full story. They were written looking for attention, looking for people to read, react. Paper will never refuse ink. Or a screen characters.
And now I think… all of the above rationalisations apply equally to praise.
Management were right. we should try to steer clear of both. It can lead to great things. Just ask the Limerick hurlers.