June 14, 2024

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Rockland County celebrates 50th anniversary of hurling field and ancient Irish sport’s time-honored tradition

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NEW YORK — This weekend, Rockland County is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a sports subject. The tale of its creation and what it indicates to the group is the emphasis of this week’s Snapshot New York with Steve Overmyer. 

The rural industry is total of an infections seem: laughing children actively playing 1 of the oldest athletics in the entire world. It is referred to as hurling. 

“It truly is additional like ice hockey than anything. Attempting to make clear it, it’s the quickest area sport in the entire world,” explained Rockland GAA Hurling Mentor Mark Comeford. 

Hurling isn’t a activity that is recognized nationally, but it has taken this group by storm. 

“It is been stated hurling is a ferocious ballet on grass. Is that accurate?” Overmyer questioned. 

“If you talk to the people that play it, they’ll say not, it truly is just a single of them items. It is very experienced. They have bought a great passion for it,” stated Paul Levins from Rockland GAA. 

The ball is identified as a sliotar. It is similar to a baseball, but players ought to use a flat stick known as a hurley to carry and hit it by way of intention pasts. 

At any age, it is really performed with spirited speed. 

It’s unattainable to trace the beginnings of hurling. It essentially pre-dates written historical past in Eire. It truly is even the centre of some of the most famous Irish myths. 

“There is a little something distinctive about currently being able to use sport to connect us to our traditions, to our historical past,” Overmyer claimed. 

“Unquestionably our heritage. They had been taught by their fathers and their fathers have been taught by their fathers. So to be able to pass that down to little ones in a facility like this … which is superb as well,” Levins mentioned. 

The activity is so essential here that 50 several years ago locals came collectively to purchase the land and develop a industry. But 1 very little challenge:

“We didn’t have the dollars in our account,” Joe McGirl said. “The only way they could protected a bank loan was if people today truly place up collateral. So 20 men and women place their own personal properties up as collateral.” 

The founding members thought in the worth of the discipline so a lot they wager their mortgages on it. 

“We have a excellent enthusiasm tor Gaelic game titles and indeed our in general lifestyle,” reported McGirl.

Fundraising in the group has allowed them to pay back back again the personal loan and even have more than enough to make it possible for each and every little one to be a part of for free of charge. For 50 several years, kids have performed here, discovering an historic activity and embracing Irish society. 

“This field, in a way, is a bridge to Eire, is just not is?” Overmyer reported. 

“It really is. It is really some thing that you’re supplying again to your youngsters,” Levins mentioned. “They’re able to see their grandchildren perform and possibly their terrific grandchildren. There is a whole lot of record right here.” 

“You know, the one particular point we locate about the sporting activities, it really is terrific for the little ones for meeting other youngsters. It’s a bonding factor and it can be good for socializing right here way too,” claimed Comeford. 

“What do you hope they get out of it?” Overmyer requested. 

“Friendship. Which is the most important detail, that they make mates for life,” Comeford explained. 

“It’s exciting, since it truly is so rapid. It is really a fast sport. It truly is so fun. And correct just after occasionally the coaches deliver you for ice product!” some of the kids said. 

“Is there a better seem than laughing, laughing youngsters?” Overmyer questioned Levins. 

“Totally. There’s not doubt about that. It truly is fantastic. No matter what goes on in your working day, occupied at function and every little thing else, the minute you get out of the automobile in this article, regardless of what transpired the preceding 10 several hours is all forgotten about,” Levins explained. 

“When you can look all-around here and you see the beneficial power which is around below, folks just want to climb aboard,” McGirl mentioned. “It places a smile on our facial area and people today that has fully commited hundreds of pounds, and we check with them what do they want in return? And they normally say whenever we drive by there and we glimpse in and we see kids actively playing with smiles on their faces, which is the payment we are receiving in return. You will find no dollar price you could get. Which is all we want.” 

Rockland County is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the subject with a weekend-extensive slate of games starting Friday. 

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