Declan God: Lack of GAA summer leaves a feeling of emptiness

With longer evenings, my older child wheezes a bit when he tries to stretch the evening until bedtime.

Right now YouTube is under strict ban. The last straw was his observation of how Americans play video games and trade nonsense.

As for Ryan’s Toy Review, social services need to be on the lookout.

So, he has a new favorite hobby; kicking the soccer ball onto the roof with his hoof and then catching it. Or I’m expert at damping the transfer to the roof (slate is harder to replace than shingles) while it catches the ball.

I and many others have a deep nostalgia for this activity. Many of us cannot appreciate the number of hours spent kicking a ball up a roof because of the thrill of watching it fall and catch it full-length.

Or even hitting the ball against the wall because of the feeling – or lack of feeling – it gave after pure contact and the challenge of controlling it on the rebound.

When it comes to watching sports, Chez Bogue is harder.

Sometimes he asks if he can watch football. I agree and then switch to the Sky Sports channels to find the game. At this point, he makes a change to the request; he doesn’t want to watch football, but people talking about it.

I’d rather watch Ryan’s Toy Review than become an expert.

But here’s the thing; at the age of seven, he began to understand the world around him and sports much better. In the next two weeks, he will begin his summer vacation. Bedtime will become elastic.

Keeping kids busy is getting harder. In the past, going to a league match was a great way to celebrate the week and give them the day off.

But we’re approaching the end of June and there are only three shooting games left this season. For a summer game, it’s like throwing a lot of summer magic by finishing the rolls so early.

After this weekend, there will be only three football matches left. How is it right?

Most recently, in 2017, our final in Ulster took place in mid-July. The inter-district season had a chance to breathe and stretch, but perhaps too much. Putting on one game in Ulster a week for eight weeks – not including replays – was too much.

But for everything to be the way it is now, it offers little in the promotion of games.

If you would like to bring the bus with the kids from Ulster to watch the hurling championship game, it must be done during the term. And this causes its own problems.

Without any kind of championship, the only way to win hearts and minds and sow the seeds in the children’s imagination is clubbing.

However, the split season will ruin that.

It may take a summer or two, but there is already evidence that some of the district’s top players are choosing to spend their summers in America playing ball and having fun.

News broke last week that Conor Mailer and Michael McKernan were going to do just that. Nobody would hate them. It’s great to be young and to be able to do these things. And when they return, they will have enough time to prepare for the Tyrone Championship, which should only start in mid-September.

Summer is always the time of the sports boom. Wimbledon will be up and running soon. On July 1, my personal favorite Tour de France begins, starting in Denmark and culminating in the traditional dash through the city streets of Paris.

After that, the UEFA Women’s European Football Championship will take place, the Premier League will begin and many other events will take place.

The only thing that will practically disappear from the summer is first-class, elite inter-regional football and ball throwing.

The GAA hype will not return until late October, when some, but not all, will show interest in the various district finals.

It’s three months in the middle of summer when the GAA won’t be part of the general sports conversation.

Newspaper coverage will be sparse. Podcasts will dig for material to cover. Newsletters will have little to no reference to the GAA.

GAA President Larry McCarthy teaches by profession at Seton Hall University in New York. He teaches postgraduate and undergraduate courses in sports marketing.

I assume he has a plan.