What is your club? Is it a place to play, a pitch, a team you play with every Saturday, train with during the week, a conversation, something to argue about, a shared experience with a group where otherwise you may struggle to make a connection, a connection with your child, a place to be with people you have grown to call friends....this question has become more and more relevant recently with football debates and concerns over player poaching, young lads leaving for other clubs, with supposedly better facilities and coaches, leading to better opportunities and advancement....I have been involved in football all my life - over 45 years now. I have played with some great players, they played in World Cups and in premier leagues, and I have been blessed to be influenced by some amazing mentors and coaches, and through football, I have met my greatest friends.
Normally, I would not write about my personal feelings or influences but I believe this is important. For me, a club is about where you belong - it is about how you feel deep inside, what makes you tick, what motivates, what makes you want to play with the guy beside you, what you feel when you arrive at your home ground, the gate, the wall, the familiarity, how you sit in your own dressing room, probably the same seat, when you put on your jersey, how you run onto your own pitch, and how you feel strange when it is not yours....the pitch is different, the smell, the feel, the ref, yet, not at home, you look around, familiar lads, your coach, your jersey, your club, still away from home, but at least together, a team away from home, representing your club.
A club to me is being absolutely part of something. Not only the team you are playing on but passionately wanting the other teams to succeed and win...it's checking the weekly fixtures, it's praying the weekly results go our way, it's revelling in the success of a team from our home, it's being proud of wearing that hoodie to school, it's liking your club, it's sharing a tweet, it's posting a photo, its instagramming your greatest moment....and ultimately, in person, it's so obvious to everyone what you love, why you love it, and it is part of what you are and most likely where you came from. It's your club.
Next season, Colga FC celebrate our 20th year as a club. Lot's more will be written and shared about the genesis and the experience to date, but, for now, we want to recognise what we are as a club. We want to begin our celebration about what it means to wear the red and white, what it means to debate are we from Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Kilcornan, touching Kinvarra, and kissing Craughwell, but ultimately, a club which recognises the importance of the past as we build for the future. For those of you who read this blog, potentially from far and wide, irrespective of your involvement in our club, recognising it does not matter if you have left us for a period of time, we want to reach out and reconnect. We want to hear from you and ensure you feel part of what the club wants to become.
As part of this, on Saturday, June 6th, Colga will celebrate our annual World cup day in Kilcornan. Later that evening, in Paddy Burkes, we are hoping to get everyone, past and present, involved with the club, to get back together and share experiences...share memories...share stories...but most importantly, share what it means to be part of our club. Colga FC.