The five types of people who will show up for pre-season at your GAA club
It's that time of year again.
Pre-season is upon us, and there are five types of people who emerge from the Christmas slumber at every GAA club across the country.
When the season finally came to an end just a few short months ago, regardless of whether or not it went well for you, you were probably ready for the break.
You get a bit sick of the same warm-up routine, the same manager's voice bellowing for you to push harder, and even the teammates become a bit overbearing.
The urge to sit in and watch the Champions League on a Tuesday evening is becoming increasingly enticing, but instead you're packing your kit bag for what feels like the thousandth time this year to go out into the wet, cold night for training.
Then comes the Christmas break, and you enjoy a merry time overindulging in turkey, ham, chocolate, desserts and washing it down with creamy pints or countless mouthfuls of wine.
All good things come to an end however, and as you peak into the box of Celebrations to see nothing but Bounty bars, and the new top you got as a present is feeling a bit snug, suddenly the desire to move again comes to the forefront.
New Year's resolutions start to be written down, goals and aspirations are swirling around in your head, the itch to kick a few points is returning and soon the WhatsApp message arrives right on cue; "Pre-season starts next week, everyone interested in playing this year needs to be in attendance."
So, before you dust off the boots, sign up to a new gym programme and get ready to 'make this your best year yet', just remember that you will encounter these five people at pre-season training (or more likely than not, you are one of them).
The comeback king
Every club has a veteran who swore that last year was their last season, and that they would not be returning because they have too much on, the knee is beginning to give way and work is just 'too full on' at the moment.
Low and behold though, as you pull up for that first session back, one of the first faces you see is the crafty old fox, already warming up and declaring that this year will in fact be their last.
The "I'll show you" person
This individual maybe didn't get the game time they felt that they deserved last year, so they have put the work in over winter, refused the pints and ran the roads on Christmas morning.
They polluted their Instagram stories with clips and photos of them at the gym alongside a generic caption like "Getting it done" but are really just letting you, your teammates and the manager know that they are coming back with a bang this year.
Of course, more often than not, the motivation fades, and at the first sign of trouble they start to falter, either returning to the bench or quitting entirely, usually accompanied with the line: "Ah sure the manager hasn't got a clue."
The gym rat
This person absolutely loves the gym and talking about nutrition, breaking Personal Bests, and can be spotted guzzling a protein shake on the pitch as soon as training is over.
They stay in shape all year long and ease back into pre-season with the sort of effortlessness and guile that makes you wish you had made better life choices.
Secretly, you absolutely hate this person with their perfect body, perfect attitude and perfectly balanced life; the sort of person who can show up for one pint, and actually just have one pint - a force of nature.
The metabolism monster
Not to be confused with the gym rat, this player is the complete opposite in almost every single way. They love drinking, eating and scoffing down junk food, but they just don't seem to put on any weight.
They had a fry at the local Centra for breakfast, about four cans of Red Bull throughout the day, a packet of Monster Munch on the way to training, and then they absolutely wiped the floor with everyone in the beep test.
A real 'Jamie Vardy' type of player, they can't understand why anyone would have a banana over a Freddo bar, and looks forward to their pre-match takeaway every week.
The one who overdid it at Christmas
The second they walked off the pitch for the last game of the season, they have averaged around 2k steps a day.
Constantly reminding themselves that "it's Christmas" and that they "earned this", they basically started the binge drinking, chocolate treats and double dinners from November first.
In they come wearing the same training top that they wore last year, but were frankly being a bit ambitious in doing so as it barely covers their midriff.
However, one doesn't just lose the magic over a few weeks, and they can still turn a game on its head with a bit of skill, outrageous score or moment of madness.
As the runs start to pay dividends, the waistline soon shrinks, and they are as good as new by the time championship comes around.
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