America, Australasia, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Football’s back – take your pick

Now it all depends on whether you’re American, English, Irish or Australian who all embrace their football game.

It’s in the human DNA you see since the day Cain decided to kick Abel’s skull into a ditch.

So here are some thoughts on some of the teams I’ve adopted from my travels.

Touchdown

Off Pat

New England Patriots: I don’t know if you’re allowed it but I adopt all the American sports teams wherever I go.

It does make it easier to pick a winner if you’ve got the New York Jets (my Long Island cousins’-team), the Washington Redskins who are now looking for a new team, and the Denver Broncos.

It’s just that you go with the team where you spend the most time… and that was my summer after university in Boston.

Hoop dreams

All’s Well: Celtic v Motherwell. www.celticfc.net

And I had little choice growing up in Glasgow in the Seventies where Catholics and Protestants didn’t mix to choose Celtic.

Particularly as my Great-Uncles had built Celtic Park.

But Scots kids were allowed too to have an English team and I chose Liverpool.

Forward fast to the Nineties, had a son on Merseyside and it came full circle with The Son and Heir becoming a fully-fledged Red.

GAA-GAA

Prize guys: Donegal

In Ireland, soccer (football) was known as a Garrison game, a preserve of the occupying British Army.

And Gaelic Football, Camogie (the female version) and the stick game hurling were the Irish sports.

I could pick any of Donegal, my Dear Old Mum’s county, Dublin where I worked for 13 years or Co. Wicklow, my adopted home.

But as my Mum drummed it into us as kids that Donegal was the best place on Earth.

And that the rest of Ireland hate serial winners Dublin, it has to be Donegal.

Perth, WA

What’s up your sleeve?

My bonds with Western Australia started when my parents took me back a jersey of the West Coast Eagles. Minus the sleeves of course.

And continued when I joined a Top Deck booze bus to the Oktoberfest in Munich and discovered they were all Aussies and Kiwis.

Fast forward six months and Brownie and Smutley had arrived on my Aberdeen doorstep and went on to set up a WA colony there with their friends.

My one and only Aussie Rules football game was with an English guy at Surrey’s cricket ground, The Oval.

I remember Collingwood were one of the teams but don’t recall the other.

Collingwood are the New England Patriots, Dublin or Manchester United of their country.

Everybody else dislikes them unless you’re one of them.

MEET YOU ON THE PITCH

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Flying, Ireland

Crazy Horses

You know you’re in the Wild West when you see wild horses thundering across the Grand Canyon.

And look out from The Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum at Lookout Mountain at the Great Plains where he once roamed.

The wide open spaces, the freedom, the clean air, the sanctity of nature, the conservation of the animals on whom their very survival depended.

Bandanaman and Issy in Clark, Colorado

It’s how people lived for centuries in these lands before we found ‘a better way’.

I have my Native American headdress on (though not literally though I did have one as a kid), having signed up for the virtual conference from New Mexico next month.

Buffalo Bill’s grave

It’s just that this COVID business has reminded us all to reconnect with the earth.

All of which you’ll find on an Escorted Tour with your American Holidays

Take their Canyon and American Lands Adventure for 2021.

TV broncos star: In Broncos’ Stadium, Denver

Kick it off in Vegas before departing for Zion National Park and hike Angels Landing.

Next up is Bryce Canyon National Park, renowned for its crimson-coloured sandstones, the hoodoos.

On my way to my next million in Vegas

You’ll recognise Monument Valley from all the old movies and here you’ll learn all about its place in Navajo legend.

Travel through the Navajo Reservation to the Cameron Trading Post to pick up jewellery and your dreamcatcher.

Of course you won’t have to wait long for your dreams to come true as you’ll cap off this unforgettable tour in the Grand Canyon.

The First Americans

Watch it from the rim or hike down it… however you take it in you’ll only sample a fraction.

And if that’s not enough Americana for you then you’ll travel back to Vegas along Route 66.

All this for two from €2099. Price includes return flights Dublin-Vegas. Seven nights’ hotel accommodation and tour guides.

America, Countries, Culture

Give us this Day – Native Americans and pandemics

Rather than the White Man civilising the Red Indian he all but obliterated him… and not at the point of a gun but through disease.

From 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the indigenous peoples of the land mass we now know as America have had to endure…

The importation of smallpox, bubonic plague, chicken pox, measles, cholera and malaria among others.

Bandanaman and his cheerleaders at Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium

All of which they had no immunity to, whereas the Europeans had built up a resistance to many diseases.

Shamans

Smallpox was particularly rampant with the Lakota people calling the outbreak of 1518 ‘the running face disease’.

And their belief in shamanism proved unsatisfactory in confronting this assailant.

On the range… in Colorado

Today’s Native American and Alaska Native is more likely too to contract our latest pandemic because of their poorer socio-economic status.

Their struggles though drew them instinctively to others in trouble.

An Irishman’s friend

And the Choctaw Indians who suffered in the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma donated money to the Irish in the Great Famine of 1847.

Buffalo Bill’s grave in Colorado

The Irish, of course, have never forgotten and are now contributing to a fund for Navajo and Hopi communities hit by Covid-19.

An act which the Native Americans call iyyikowa.

Just the job

We can learn more about the First Nation from visiting their reservations, their association’s website www.aianta.org where they have a vacancy just for me.

Tee-hee, tepee… at the Mile High Stadium

And the best Smithsonian in Washington DC, the American Indian Museum https://americanindian.si.edu and Easy DC.

I knew I was in the America of my childhood Saturday movies when I walked through Denver Airport and was met by Freckled Face and Eats No Meat… Go West.

And went on to see the Native Americans at dance at Mile High Stadium http://www.denver.org and https://www.denverbroncos.com/stadium/.

And me as a Bronco

Before paying tribute to the Native Americans’ favourite White Man (before me) Buffalo Bill… http://www.buffalobill.org.

And rode off on the Plains www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

MEET YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE