Book Title: Ireland's Professional Amateurs : A Sports Season at Its Purest
Author: Paul Rouse
Format: Paperback | 212 pages
Publication Date: 12 Nov 2007
When American sportswriter Andy Mendlowitz took a summer vacation to Ireland, his itinerary included visiting medieval castles and drinking dark beer. He soon discovered a world where big-time sports aren't yet a business, but still a game. Ireland's rough-and-tumble pastimes of hurling and Gaelic football attract crowds of up to 80,000 fans a contest. The high-profile players, though, are amateurs. They train as professionals but must work fulltime jobs to pay the bills. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) also lacks free agency or trades-you simply play for your hometown team, even if you move away. Amazed by this concept, and burned out at work, Mendlowitz quit his job and moved to Ireland for eight months His aim was to get excited again by understanding what drives these athletes. Along the way, he met interesting characters and learned how the sports intersect with the ancient Irish language, burgeoning economy and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. From big cities like Belfast, Dublin and Cork to tiny rural parishes, Mendlowitz paints a vivid picture of Ireland and the joy of competing.