Trying to manage life without sport in what has become such a changed world

We are living in a changed, changed world. I wonder will it ever come back to normal again? I doubt it, because I think we have all changed in so many ways since coronavirus hit us and continues to hit us and to change our lives.

Love doesn’t change, however. As the readers will know, last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and for those of us lucky to be mothers, and indeed grandmothers, we saw such expressions of love on that morning. I have two sons, one in Dublin and one in Athlone, and in quick successions last Sunday by 9am I had heard from the two of them.

Their calls filled me with love and hope that, at the end of this nightmare, there will be the enduring qualities of love and remembrance.

What did you all think of Leo Varadkar’s speech on the night of St. Patrick’s Day? I had been alerted by the TV that the speech was coming, and so I was prepared and ready to listen and to absorb it. In my opinion, the speech was masterful, timely, and affected so many of us who were listening carefully. He told the truth, as he saw it and as he had been told by the medical experts. I think the context of the speech was important, in that it was delivered on the evening of St. Patrick’s Day, which is Ireland’s national holiday but which sadly for this year was entirely muted. But having listened to Leo, we somehow felt that Patrick’s Day had its full place in Irish life.

That led me on to thinking how fortunate we are that we have a Government in place – yes, a Government that does not have an electoral mandate, but is in place to govern.

I thought then back to the 1937 Constitution devised by Éamon de Valera and his advisors. People often point to how old-fashioned the Constitution is, and indeed many of its provisions have, as we know, been changed by referendum. However, on close reading, Article 28, 11.2 bears close scrutiny. It says: “The members of the Government in office at the date of a dissolution of Dáil Éireann shall continue to hold office until their successors shall have been appointed.”

I thought to myself, how timely and how utterly correct it is that we have that in our Constitution, and so this is why the present government is able to continue in office until and when we get around to making a new one. In the meantime, they are governing under the full remit of Article 28, 11.2 of the Constitution.

So there was nothing old-fashioned about de Valera’s ideas when he compiled that particular article.

Television becomes so important now. Last Sunday week saw the conclusion of Dancing with the Stars. I have followed this show since it commenced, and I have followed with great interest the career of many who have been dancing on it.

When it opened last Sunday week, we were told that while this was to be the semi-final, it was now combining the semi-final and the final together. It sounded sensible then, and we know now how very sensible it was, even though they had no audience on the show and the people on it were diminished in number.

It still made for very exotic viewing. The winners, as we know, were Lottie Ryan and her partner Pasquale La Rocca. Together they put in an amazing show, and I think for that two hours lifted our hearts and perhaps allowed us to think of other things, rather than the deadly coronavirus which is having such a bearing on our lives.

Reviewing the show now in hindsight, we had some terrific dancers and some not-so-good ones. I’ll include in that Fr. Ray Kelly, who knew he couldn’t dance, and we all knew he couldn’t dance, but somehow he was making a statement by participating in this lively show. I met Fr. Ray Kelly at a wedding once, and he is as ordinary and nice as he appeared on the show. As we know, he was subjected to some nasty remarks on social media, but he overcame them and continued.

Good for him; he set a great example of how the Church can be part of everyday life.

It is so difficult to manage life without sport. I am an avid follower of all sports, particularly the rugby matches and also the unfolding GAA Allianz League. However, they are all gone now, and how sadly they are missed. I was looking forward to the many Saturday games, and in particular to the Six Nations as it proceeded, but of course that was not to continue and we all fully understand that.

Perhaps when they all come back into full action again, the enforced rest will have given them new leases of life, and they will be full of vim and vigour and ready again for the fray.

As a sort of an add-on to the talk about sport, isn’t it just fantastic the way the public have responded to answer ‘Ireland’s Call’? None of us had any idea that so many retired people who had been in the health service, or so many people who had gone to the health service in other countries, were ready to answer that call and to come back and help in Ireland’s fight against coronavirus. That full-hearted response certainly gave us all hope and was one of the highlights of the troubles that we’re going through. Somehow, human nature and humanity strives to respond to what is needed in a time of danger.

Meanwhile in the midst of all of the mayhem, TV trundles on, and now that we’re much more enclosed at home we have more time to concentrate on it.

I wanted to mention a new show which will begin soon on RTÉ1. It’s called Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything. Angel Scanlon does a show in which she can ask her guests anything, and in turn they can ask her anything – not at all scripted, and therefore should be somewhat different to observe and to listen to.

There have been some good shows on RTÉ, Virgin Media and BBC. Last week saw a very good BBC hour-long documentary on Dominic Cummings, who is the guru behind Boris Johnson in Number 10, and who apparently decides everything with the government – who’s in, who’s out, what policies they’ll adopt, etc.

It was a riveting show and I just came upon it purely by chance, but I certainly enjoyed it.

So try to keep up with what’s on TV, read a lot, and think a lot. After all, we can still do all of that, and we can still talk a lot. So I hope we can all give full expression to all of those creative abilities which we have.

I am thinking of all of my readers, and wishing you the very best of good health and good heart in the long days and weeks which lie ahead.

That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime, go safely.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke


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