Wednesday, July 19th: The Ancient Sport of Hurling


BEEN MUCH MORE THAN A GAME.>>STEP RIGHT UP, WHO IS NEXT? ERIN: THESE ARE THE SITES OF AMERICA’S PASTIME. IN IRELAND, THINGS LOOK AND SOUND A BIT DIFFERENT WHEN THEIR PASTIME IS PLAYED. THIS IS HURLING — AND THANKS TO THE BARLEY HOUSE WOLVES OUT OF CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL TO IRELAND TO WATCH A MATCH. [BAGPIPES] >>WOLVES ON THREE. 1, 2, 3 –>>WOLVES!>>IT’S AN ANCIENT SPORT AND A WARRIOR SPORT, SO IT’S MEANT FOR PLAYERS WHO ARE COMING OUT AND SUPPORTING THEIR CLUB. IN IRELAND, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR COUNTY. HERE, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR CLUB. ERIN: THE TEAM WAS FIRST FORMED IN 2006 BY A GROUP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD COMBAT VETERANS.>>IN 2005-2006, MOUNTAIN COMPANY OUT OF MILFORD DEPLOYED, AND WHEN THEY GOT BACK — ON THEIR WAY BACK, THEY STOPPED IN SHANNON, IRELAND, AND IN THE PUB AT THE AIRPORT THEY WERE PLAYING A WEIRD SPORT ON THE TV. THE GUYS WERE THERE, THEY SAID, WHAT’S BAD UP ON THE TV? THEY SAID, THAT’S OUR NATIONAL SPORT, HURLING. ERIN: THE GOAL WAS TO USE THE NEW SPORT AS A WAY TO HEAL AND STICK TOGETHER AFTER RETURNING FROM WAR.>>THAT WAS A ROUGH DEPLOYMENT FOR A LOT OF THOSE GUYS. THEY SAW A LOT OF STUFF WHERE THEY WERE, AND I THINK THAT WAS A WAY TO KEEP EVERYBODY IN THE LOOP TOGETHER AND MAKING SURE THEY WERE TALKING OUTSIDE OF THE ARMY WITHOUT THE ARMY SIDE OF IT BEING INVOLVED. ERIN: JASON BURPE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL GUARD. HE JOINED SHORTLY AFTER THE TEAM WAS FORMED.>>I STRUGGLED A BIT AT FIRST. THE NATIONAL PASTIME IN THIS COUNTRY I DON’T PLAY VERY WELL, SO THE HAND COORDINATION WITH THE STICK WAS ROUGH FOR ME AT FIRST. PLUS THE GRIP IS BACKWARDS. THERE ARE A LOT OF LITTLE RULES. ERIN: THE LEARNING CURVE ON THE SPORT OF HURLING IS A STEEP ONE, BOTH AS A PLAYER AND A SPECTATOR.>>IT’S A COMBINATION OF FIELD HOCKEY AND LACROSSE, BUT LIKE I SAID, IT IS OLDER THAN ANY OF THOSE GAMES, SO THEY CRIBBED DIFFERENT RULES AND FEELINGS OFF THAT MENTALITY. ERIN: FIRST, THE BASICS — TWO TEAMS, A FIELD LARGER THAN A FOOTBALL OR SOCCER FIELD, TWO 35-MINUTE HALVES, NO STOPPING. ONE GOAL — TO WIN. WELL, ACTUALLY, THERE ARE TWO GOALS PHYSICALLY — AH, I TOLD YOU IT WAS COMPLICATED.>>SCORING IN HURLING IS VERY SIMPLE. YOU HAVE TO PUT THE SLITOR EITHER BETWEEN THE GOAL POSTS, THE UPRIGHTS, FOR ONE POINT, OR INTO THE GOAL PAST THE GOALIE FOR THREE POINTS. ERIN: THE SLITOR?>>IT’S SIMILAR TO A BASEBALL . IT IS WRAPPED IN LEATHER. IT IS A LITTLE BIT LIGHTER AND SMALLER THAN A BASEBALL. IT HAS GOT RAISED LEATHER SEAMS INSTEAD OF STITCHED SEAMS, BUT OTHER THAN THAT IT’S REALLY SIMILAR. ERIN: OK, AND YOU HIT THE SLITOR WITH THE HURLER.>>YOU CAN TOSS THE BALL IN THE AIR AND SWING AND HIT IT. YOU CAN HAND PASS IT BY HITTING IT WITH YOUR HAND. YOU CAN’T THROW IT.>>TO PICK UP THE BALL, YOU HAVE ROLL IT WITH YOUR STICK, JAB TWO WITH IT, BUT YOU CAN’T TOUCH THE BALL OR LEFT UP THE BALL ON THE GROUND. THAT’S A FOUL. ERIN: RIGHT — SO BACK TO THAT LEARNING CURVE. >>IT’S SUBSTANTIAL. I NEVER REALLY PLAYED STICK SPORTS, DID NOT PLAY LACROSSE, DID NOT PLAY HOCKEY OR BASEBALL. I PLAYED TENNIS, SO A LITTLE BIT OF HAND EYE COORDINATION THAT HELPED. BUT IT’S LIKE A TWO-YEAR LEARNING CURVE, I WOULD SAY. AFTER TWO SEASONS IT BECOMES MUCH EASIER. ERIN: A LOT OF THE GUYS ON THE TEAM HAVE FALLEN FOR THE CULTURE OF THE SPORT. THE GAME DATES BACK MORE THAN 3000 YEARS.>>I WENT TO EUROPE FOR A FEW MONTHS AND I CAUGHT A COUPLE GAMES WHILE I WAS IN IRELAND. IT WAS A BLAST, NOT ONLY TO SEE A PLAYED BY PROFESSIONALS, BUT ALSO TO SEE THE CULTURE THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT. THE FAN BASES, IT’S INCREDIBLE.>>IN AMERICA, IT CAME OVER WITH IRISH IMMIGRANTS, BUT THERE IS A STRONG LINK BETWEEN THE GAA, WHICH IS THE GAELIC ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, IN IRELAND AND THE GAA IN THE U.S. ERIN: THE WOLVES PLAY TEAMS FROM PORTLAND, MAINE, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, AND WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.>>GUYS, WE HAVE A BIG GAME THIS WEEKEND, BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR SO FAR. A WIN ON SUNDAY WOULD BE HUGE FOR THE STANDINGS AND PUT US IN GREAT POSITION FOR THE PLAYOFFS AND REGIONAL FINAL.>>I WOULDN’T QUITE SAY IT’S A GENTLEMAN’S GAME, BECAUSE WHEN THE REF IS LOOKING THE OTHER WAY IT CAN GET A LITTLE SCRAPPY AT TIMES, JUST THE KIND OF ANTAGONIZE THE OTHER TEAM, BUT IT’S ALL IN GOOD FUN, USUALLY. ERIN: SO WHAT QUALITIES DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD HURLER?>>THE GAME IS MORE ABOUT HEART AND INTENSITY THAN IT IS ABOUT PURE ATHLETICISM.>>KEEPING YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME. THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON, AND YOU HAVE TO FOCUS ON PICKING THE BALL OFF THE GROUND AND PUTTING IT IN YOUR HAND WITHOUT GETTING GETTING CLOCKED BY THE GUY COMING AT YOU, AND BEING ABLE TO MAKE A PASS. AFTER TWO YEARS, THE GAME STARTS TO SLOW DOWN AND YOU CAN THINK ON YOUR FEET A LITTLE BETTER.>>WE ARE NOT EXCLUSIVE. ANYONE CAN COME HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH US. WE HAVE GUYS THIS YEAR BRAND-NEW THAT JUST STARTED THAT HAVEN’T SEEN AS MUCH GAME TIME BUT HAVE COME OUT FOR PRACTICES AND HAVE BEEN A LOT MORE SUCCESSFUL IN THAT REGARD. I WOULD SAY THE ONLY APTITUDE REQUIRED FOR A PLAYER WHO WANTS TO DO THIS IS JUST A WILL TO TRY IT. ERIN: HIT AFTER HIT, WHAT KEEPS THESE PLAYERS COMING BACK YEAR AFTER YEAR?>>THERE AREN’T MANY SPORTS YOU CAN PLAY COMPETITIVELY AT A NATIONAL LEVEL ONCE YOU GET PAST THE COLLEGE LEVEL OR HIGH SCHOOL, WHERE YOU CAN PLAY SPORTS AS AN ADULT THAT MEAN SOMETHING AT A NATIONAL LEVEL.>>SOMETHING TO DO, A REASON TO STAY FIT AND BE ACTIVE. THE CAMARADERIE OF IT ALL IS PRETTY NICE.>>WINNING IS MY FAVORITE PART OF ALL OF IT. NO, REALLY, I WOULD SAY THE CAMARADERIE BETWEEN THE PLAYERS IS REALLY WHAT I’M OUT HERE FOR.>>SOME OF THE PHYSICALITY, THE HITTING IS NICE. A LITTLE DANGER INVOLVED, BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING IT’S BUILDING A FRIENDSHIP, TEAMBUILDING.

4 thoughts on “Wednesday, July 19th: The Ancient Sport of Hurling

  1. As a Irishman ( especially from Tipperary ) I know I'm biased, but there is no sport that comes close. The skill that top players show never ceases to amaze, especially considering everyone is amateur.Good skills on show from the Barley House Wolves. Great to see it bringing the same joy to people around the world as we get from it.

  2. Also as a Tipp man Best Sport ever Great Video all the Best Guys. Tiobraid Árann ABÚ In English Tipperary forever

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