D’ya hear yer man

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Yer Man at the Olympics

The Olympics has taken me by surprise.

Not a ‘creeping-up-on-me-from-behind-and-inserting-a-moistened-index-finger-in-my-ear’ kind of surprise. There was far too much pre-event hype to ensure I wasn’t taken unawares by the London Games.

What has surprised me, however, is the amount of it I’ve watched. I’d always intended to dip a toe in, so to speak, but I’d never planned on fully immersing myself in the Olympic swimming pool, or any of the other venues for that matter.

Having missed the opening ceremony due to an excessive night out with work colleagues I’ve been making up for lost time by binging on sport.

The big draw for me has been the chance to watch minority sports that wouldn’t normally receive major TV coverage. Prior to the Olympics I’d have guessed the Men’s Uneven Bars was a specialist pub crawl rather than a highly-skilled gym routine. And as for the Ominium Scratch Race, upon first hearing the title of the event I presumed it was an intergalactic DJ battle. It turned out to be a contest for cyclists, though no less exciting than my first presumption.

I remain baffled by the Modern Day Pentathlon. Pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping and cross-country running aren’t exactly modern day pursuits. I would suggest the format is changed to include knife fighting, quad bike racing, paintballing, internet shopping and cross-platform social networking.

Saturday night’s action in the Olympic Stadium made for compelling viewing as Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and that ginger bloke who can jump really far all ended up with gold medals in the space of 45 minutes.

You can say what you like about Team GB, but you can’t argue that our children aren’t being presented with some very worthy role models. My only worry is if the kids of today aspire to be the next Jessica Ennis or Bradley Wiggins we could end up with a generation of young people with washboard stomachs and mutton chops.

I’ve been watching so much of the Olympics that they’ve started infiltrating my dreams. I fell asleep in work on Monday and started dreaming that I was competing in the Heptathalon.

I’d won the hurdles, set a new personal best at the shot put and was preparing for the third event when I was rudely awoken from my slumber by Clint, who was standing behind me shaking me by the shoulders.

“You’re for the high jump,” he shouted.

How could he possibly have known?

Living the dream

Some aspire for Olympic Gold Medals while others are happy with having their own subsection on the company website. I fall into the latter category.

And just this week’s I started living the dream when ‘Yer Man’ was given his own home on the Lurgan Mail website along with several other key news and sport sections.

You’ll notice under ‘Lifestyle’ that my updates are grouped together in a section entitled ‘D’ye hear yer man’.

Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt spot the spelling difference between the section heading and the regular title of my column.

This can be explained by way of regional dialect. In simple terms, I’m from Lurgan and I say ‘ya’ while Clint (who chose the heading for the web section) is originally from the wilds of Fermanagh and he says ‘ye’.

I love the fact that despite Northern Ireland being such a small country our Ulsterisms can vary slightly from place to place. It might be stretching it to turn these subtle variations into a musical, but at the very least I’ve penned the opening lines to a song...

“You say ganch, I say gaunch

You say scunnered, I say scundered,

Ganch, gaunch, scunnered, scundered

Let’s call the whole thing off!”

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: There are only three people on the fishing trip - a grandfather, his son and his grandson. The middle man doubles up as both a father and a son meaning there are no issues with sharing three fish between two fathers and two sons.

Here’s this week’s challenge: Name three consecutive days without using the words ‘Monday’, ‘Tuesday’, ‘Wednesday’, ‘Thursday’, ‘Friday’, ‘Saturday’ or ‘Sunday’ or day names in any other language.