Autumn leagues

November 8, 2018

Sadly, we feel the need to publish a letter received recently from a disgruntled GAA Spouse addressed to GAA Parents.

Dear GAA Parents,

Does your child love being part of the GAA, playing our National games?

Just wondering if you have any idea of the commitment it takes from your volunteer run club, for your child to take part in Gaelic Games?

I am the spouse of a GAA coach, you could say I’m a bigamist because not only am I married to my partner; I’m married to the GAA. That’s ok because my partner loves the GAA, coaching your child and is setting a wonderful example for our children.

But just think for a minute what it’s like for our family. My spouse gets up every morning, usually at 6:30 am to go to work. While eating breakfast, your child’s next match is being organised via email. While having a break at work, your child’s training session is being planned, whilst eating lunch you are being sent a text about these training sessions/games.

If I’m lucky, I get to have dinner with my partner and children 3 nights per week, why? Because on the way home from a long day at work, my partner is heading straight to the GAA club, without eating, to coach your child or referee a game, coming home usually at 8.00 or 9.00 pm to rush a dinner so that a bed time story can be read to our children. What happens next? Emails that can’t be replied to during working hours re games/training or meetings are dealt with, jerseys are being sorted and washed, to be ready for the next match.

Next time you are at training or a match, have a look at the person coaching your child; just think to yourself what their day was like. Just like you, they have stressful jobs and extremely busy family lives. Do you think they need hassle from you, querying why your adored little angel didn’t get picked for the A team? That the ball wasn’t passed to them? That they didn’t get enough game time?

Another thing, do me a favour and reply to the texts the coach sends to you. Believe it or not, it’s not easy to plan a match, if you don’t know how many kids are going to show up. Recently my partner sent 24 texts and got 3 replies. And guess what? Buses have to be paid for by your volunteer lead club so if your child doesn’t show up, more monies have to be fundraised!

Why do GAA coaches do what they do? Why do we spouses put up with all the BS that goes with it? Because of the pride that there is in being involved in an amateur organisation like no other. Because watching the progress your children, not the coach’s child I might add, fills my spouse with enormous pride. Seeing the joy your child gets from scorning a goal or a point, is worth it. Even if the team doesn’t win, but they tried their best, it’s a super feeling.

So next time you think of sending a moaning text late at night or at the weekend, to your child’s coach, or pull them aside after a game to complain about something, please think twice. Think about the day they’ve had at work and what they have to do when they get home. Chances are they’ve sacrificed time with an elderly parent, won’t get to a household chore that are always left to the other partner or enjoy their own hobbies because they coach your child.

Chances are they won’t get to see their own child at all that day because the children are in bed before they get home; chances are they will be too tired to have a conversation with their partner. Chances are they are exhausted.

So please THINK TWICE.


Disgruntled GAA spouse