Next time someone doesn't cut you slack for commuting to training, show them Joe Canning's words
It's all give and no take in the GAA world.
Ask not what your club or county can do for you... but what you can do for them. That's the gist of it. That's the whole game.
You spend the best part of three decades reporting for training on someone else's time, moving in training on someone else's command, and living the life of a monk so you can be right at the end of the week for a league match that 7.125 billion people on earth don't know about never mind give a toss about.
When you're finished being purged, you spend the next two score years organising training and lifts and listening to excuses and parents whinging and just about getting by the best you can each and every season.
Then you die.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 16, 2016
Through it all, you just want to know that you've been appreciated. That you've been valued.
So, when you're driving down through the dark and the rain from Belfast or Dublin when your mates are getting ready for a house party and you've a manager waiting to run the balls off you and roar the life out of you, you just want to feel like what you're doing is recognised.
Then you get a text message to say, "where the hell are you?"
Or, "hurry the f**k up."
Or, "if you're not here in 10 minutes, don't bother showing up."
You think the team mates at least will show you the love but then the ol' lad on the squad is asking why you missed Tuesday's session two weeks ago. Some of them will make indirect, passive aggressive comments about people not wanting it enough or the young boys not showing enough commitment. Others will come directly at you and tell you to not even try to look for any kudos for coming back from training because you're doing feck all else.
Those are the days you really question it all.
Joe Canning was once hitting the long haul roads before and after training three or four times a week. He was making the trip from Dublin to Galway and then going straight back up the road again and he knows better than anyone the hardships that come with those journeys.
For him, he was missing out on one of the most important aspects of training. Recovery.
"You were coming up three or four times a week - it was just the recovery part of it more than anything," the Tribesman superstar explained on the latest GAA Hour.
"You were fine doing it but, in the long run, you weren't able to get to the sea after training or small things like that - or wait on for a physio just to get the body right.
"You couldn't do things like that because you're sitting in the car for two hours again and your hamstrings and your hips and stuff are tightening up because you're sitting in the car straight after training."
Then, of course, a lot of players take more grief for being injured and the vicious circle continues.
Canning is now living in Oranmore in Galway where he can prepare and recover as optimally as possible but he still recognises the sacrifice that comes with those who are commuting.
That's what's not taken into consideration when we bandy about this word, 'professional'.
"We train so hard now and everybody says it's almost professional but the big difference is that professionals get the time to recover after training and stuff and we don't really because we have to go to work or go to college."
Listen to the brilliant Joe Canning interview below (from 10:30).