I’ve only ever thrown one punch in my life. Although to even describe that as a punch is probably stretching it a little bit. That not everyone on a team gets on with everyone else should come as no surprise. While on the pitch we could dig in together and do our absolute best but off the pitch some of us didn’t have much in common and just didn’t get on.
To cut a long story short(ish), a team-mate raked down my Achilles one night in a training match and I took exception. I didn’t know how to punch but I gave it a go but it came out as more of a push than a punch and then we were separated by the rest of the team. The following weekend we actually played side-by-side, got a great win, high-fived at the final whistle and got on with things.
This weekend Dublin plays in the All-Ireland Gaelic football final. It’s our Super League Grand Final, our Superbowl or our Boxing Day Cricket in Melbourne. Tickets are like gold dust so I’ll be watching on TV but I did snare tickets to the semi-final and this was when I noticed how frustrated and angry I am at the invisible nature of my conditions and that to people in general ‘I don’t look sick’.
A huge crowd gathered in the pubs around Croke Park very early on the day. Some were just soaking up the atmosphere while others were watching the Man Utd V Liverpool match. Space was at a premium and when I spotted a ledge to rest a drink on and lean against I moved as quick as my body would allow me.
However a Muppet* who moved after me, insisted he had been standing there all along. Normally I would just ignore that but when 3 more people joined him, started to gently push me forward and tried to insist they too had been standing there all along I flipped.
I let loose some verbals and used my body to make it as awkward for this group to stay there as possible. Inside I was urging him to hit me and start a ruck. I might have just run away but I kind of wanted him to get a few digs in so that I could say to people ‘see my bruises, see my bloody nose, that’s how I feel every single day but you can’t see it.’
I followed this theme up inside the ground too. It is the great bonus of Gaelic football and hurling that fans sit by side with opposition fans and there is always good banter back and forth. I spied a Kerry fan who was particularly biased and insulted any fan that had the temerity to ask him to move so they could get past to the toilets or the concessions.
I set about winding him with sarcastic comments, deliberately biased views on the game and barracking of the Kerry players. I never spoke directly to him but made sure he could hear every word. Eventually he got fed up and turned and told me to ‘f##k off!’ That should have been enough for me but I kept at him in the hope that he might start a fight and I again could get some visible injuries.
It’s a very strange feeling, wishing for a row to escalate because in this day and age, there are knives and guns to worry about as well as fists and boots. It’s all however just an outlet for my stress and frustration at my physical condition.
Patience is a vital component of managing fibromyalgia and/or arthritis. On lots of days that has been ok with me but the last few weeks has reminded me to be ever vigilant and catch myself before I go spoiling for a fight. As much as my hands can get hurt typing, I think telling you all about my frustration on here is a much more constructive way to deal with my frustrations and anger than spoiling for a fight.
*Muppet – A colloquial term for a fool, also known as a gobshite