11 types of people at every single GAA pre-season testing session
It's all about these numbers.
Who cares if you can put the ball between the posts? How long can you hold yourself in a plank position?
Every winter, club teams get together and make a pact that this time they're for real. The fitness testing is the emblem of a side that aren't pissing around this year.
Unfortunately for new and enthusiastic coaches, it's the same characters that show up every time.
1. The goalkeeper
Wants to know why the f**k he's here.
Wants to know why he's had to leave the wife to fend for herself with the kids on a Saturday in December so he could watch boys jump across a hall.
Wants to know where the 17 other lads are and how are his results really going to threaten his position when the only other 'keeper in the club is a scrawny under-18 who was forced to stand in goals.
2. The 47-year-old
One more year.
The sad thing is that his results are better than most.
3. The one stinking of beer
He knows nobody is going to care about these tests come June. They can pull his teeth all they like, he'll come good in his own time.
4. The absent star player who doesn't want to play this year
He's fed up.
He's fed up with meetings in December. He's fed up with being tested and being made to run and then run some more. He's fed up with being bombarded with text messages when he's not being roared at on the training field.
He doesn't care that much. He can do without this in his life.
The manager won't let him go without a fight though.
5. The one pacing himself
You're going to be re-tested in six weeks time and then again before the league starts (if the team is still bothering by that stage) so why would you want to run up big numbers now?
Take it easy, leave yourself with plenty of room for improvement.
Watch those numbers grow without having to do hardly any work. Go at 60 per cent for the initial testing, 100 per cent for the re-test - it will seem like nobody is working harder.
6. The reserve player over-exerting himself
You can push the bar away from your chest as much as you want and your numbers might be exciting the new management team. But this is a game of football or hurling and practicing the bench press doesn't make you any better at playing either of those.
The starting 15 for the first pre-season game will be drastically different to the first league game. It will quickly change from strong players to skillful players.
7. The conditioning coach
A statement of intent that this is the year and there will be no stone unturned this season.
He'll quickly be discarded when you lose a game and the manager gets fed up that there's not enough football* going on.
8. The 'injured' guy
Will throw his jeans back on as soon as the test takes to the field for sprints.
He's ready to play this year but he's just not that ready.
Will skip pre-season then return but realise he's miles behind everyone else. That will cause him to take the rest of the year off with injury again to focus properly on next year.
But he won't do the runs in the fitness test.
9. The transferred player
Performing averagely all around but the managers are happy to have him on board. Even just his presence raises competition.
For the first time in years, boys have to make small talk in their dressing room. He won't be there when the league starts.
10. County star
You'll do nothing but slag him for representing his county.
He won't be there when the league starts either. You'll be lucky if you see him all year.
11. The one asking if you're getting a game
Every session from now until the season ends - probably the following December - this man will be on the coaches' cases to play a match at the end of training.
In between training, he'll text the group to ask if they can get a game instead of training and even now in the fitness tests, he wants football and he wants to enjoy himself.
He's playing in the wrong era.