One thing that both the United States and Ireland share is a love of sport. In the US, people love the NBA (basketball), the NFL (American Football), the NHL (Ice hockey) and, of course, the national sport MLB (Baseball). These are the big professional sports. The big teams in the Bay Area are the Golden State Warriors basketball team, The San Francisco 49er’s American football team, The San Jose Sharks ice hockey team, and the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
However, soccer is becoming increasingly popular, and the San Jose Earthquakes are Silicon Valley’s team in the MLS (major league soccer). College sports, particularly American Football, is massive. Stanford stadium holds almost 50,000 spectators.
Living in California, you are never too far away from a soccer practice, or a game of lacrosse, a gymnastics gym, a swim team or a yoga studio. There is also a cross-fit gym and martial arts studios on every second corner. There is also golf. Lots of golf. The sports facilitates of most high schools are jaw-droppingly impressive.
In Ireland, the big four sports that people like to follow are Gaelic Football, Hurling, Soccer and Rugby. The Irish are also a nation that tends to support any Irish person that is doing well on the world stage. Therefore at different points in time, we become a nation of experts on everything from boxing, to MNA, to sailing or Athletics. And then there is golf. We love golf.
Despite the ever-increasing popularity of both rugby and soccer there is no doubt that the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) remains the sporting heartbeat of the country. Most people love all the sports but when you are driving around rural Ireland on a dark night, and the next thing the sky lights up as if a spaceship has landed there is an excellent chance that it is a GAA club. Sporting facilities are improving all the time in Ireland, but for a long time, the best sporting facilities were provided by the local GAA clubs.
The pages in this section will focus on the primary sports on both sides of the Atlantic. There may also be some coverage of my own golfing journey.