GAA jerseys and high-viz vests

*All views contained here my own! I reserve the right to offend GAA jersey wearers and high viz vest wearers! *

We seem to have a national obsession in this country with two particular items of clothing: GAA jerseys and high-viz vests and I have strong views on both! As someone who spent my formative years abroad (I grew up in Zambia, Africa), I feel I have a more objective opinion on this than my peers who spent all their lives here as I didn’t grow up exposed to Gaelic football or hurling and never developed any sense of county loyalty. I never played either game, never watched it on TV and the only time I ever went to a Gaelic football or hurling match was with my Dad. On the rare occasions I attended a match with him, I never knew any of the players, had a very basic grasp of the rules and wasn’t particularly invested in the outcome of the game. What I did enjoy was the atmosphere and excitement that was palpable on the way into the stadium and during the match when grown adults would get very carried away and start cursing and shouting at the players or referee.

Why am I telling you all this? Well it’s because I’ve observed over the years that the Irish, in comparison to other nationalities (and I’m thinking mainly of our Southern European neighbours here; the chic French, the ultra cool Italians and the stylish Spaniards) aren’t what you might call fashion-forward. Any nation that considers a GAA jersey an acceptable form of ‘casual’ attire for wearing with a pair of jeans is in dire need of some fashion intervention! The jersey itself is an eyesore usually made of some sort of shiny, synthetic material in garish colours. Incredibly, it seems to be equally popular with both men and women! A garment intended to be worn by players on the sports field, it has been adopted by ardent fans of a particular club or county to demonstrate their allegiance. However, far from being worn by fans who actually play any sport or participate in athletic activities, most often you will see it worn by fat middle-aged men and women with pot bellies and pasty complexions. Let me tell you , it is not a good look!!!

Even when worn by young, attractive people, I would strongly contend that a more unflattering garment could not be found. The young actor Paul Mescal who stars in the hit TV series “Normal People” was recently photographed in London wearing a garishly coloured Adidas tracksuit top along with a pair of white GAA shorts. Now he is a very attractive young man who happens to have a great pair of legs but even he couldn’t rock this look! Not to mention that white GAA shorts make white Irish skin look even whiter and pastier!

Which brings me to my second point. What is it with Irish people and high-viz vests? They are a safety garment, yes? Intended to be worn on construction sites or at night or when there is poor visibility, right? So why on earth do people (and it is only Irish people I have observed doing this) wear high- viz vests while out jogging or on a cycle with the kids in BROAD DAYLIGHT? We can see you already you know, you don’t need to draw even more attention to yourself with a bloody flourescent vest!!! Yes, I get that it’s for “safety” but if you are outdoors in strong sunshine, then there shouldn’t be any issues with visibility (unless other pedestrians, cyclists or drivers are actually legally blind… in which case, what the hell are they doing walking/cycling or driving in the first place??!) The only logical conclusion I can draw is that the people sporting these high-viz vests have even less faith in you and I than I do….

Now I’m going to propose something controversial…I suggest a mass burning of all GAA jerseys. The conflagration would keep the country warm for weeks and we’d be doing the people of this country a huge favour…

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below…

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