I guess I was sooo excited I would be seeing my first hurling match, that I had a heck of a time falling asleep Friday night. Actually, I didn't pass out until Saturday morning around 2. Not cool, especially since I had to be on the road by 10:30. Not a lot of wiggle room trying to fit in a solid 8 hours. Although it was probably just drinking Diet Pepsi after 9 and watching The Soup and Chelsea Lately.
Once I did get my act together and I hit the road, I managed to maneuver the boat over to my aunt and uncles, dealing with the occasional smell of fuel along the way (don't worry, the mechanic said that was just exhaust coming in once in a while, no big deal). We headed south to the big P-Town, grateful not to be stuck in the traffic backed up for five miles on northbound 295.
We arrived at the field 20 minutes before the scheduled start time for the match. My cousin had not yet arrived himself. Interesting...it's not often spectators arrive before athletes warm up, but then again, this was a club match. Eventually he arrived with his roommate, who was very nice, and then we waited a bit for the other team to show up. They were coming from Worcester (pronounced Wuhstuh in this neck of the woods), so we figured they were stuck in traffic somewhere.
Finally the game started 45 minutes after originally planned. If you are unfamiliar with hurling, it is a combination of several games you likely are familiar with, such as field hockey, baseball and lacrosse. The match that I watched resembled field hockey more than any other sport, but my cousin later told me that their level of play was not as skilled as others. Apparently professional hurling is played more in the air and hand, and less on the ground.
It is crazy how close to injury the players can be, especially since it is legal to use your hand to catch a ball in the air. Of course, choosing that method leaves you at the mercy of a defender who may try to interfere and whack your arm with a hurley (the primary piece of equipment, a wooden club). The really neat thing to see is when a player is able to balance the sliotar (ball) on the hurley and run down the field - like an egg-in-the-spoon race. And being a baseball fan, I highly a respect a player's ability to toss the ball up and then knock it 50 or 60 yards downfield.
My cousin took a hard hit to his wrist, and unfortunately was done for the game but did not sustain a serious injury. Portland went on to win easily. Celebrating at the local pub RiRas ensued, where I enjoyed an amazing Reuben sandwich with onion rings.
Then my aunt, uncle and I had to head back north. We contemplated the option of taking the interstate, but my uncle decided "at this time of night, traffic is coming into Portland, not leaving it. We'll be fine." Another set of famous last words, like "what's the worst that could happen?" or "that trail has to come out SOMEWHERE" or "so where IS this relationship going?"
Eventually, we arrived home, just in time to catch some fireworks from the interstate in celebration of the incredible, edible egg. I hopped in the boat, and as I started to head home, the "check engine" light popped up. Awwwwesome. I said my prayers to the car gods as I wished it to just keep rolling along. Thankfully it did.