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A team from the Gar­den County truly blossems at DCU re­cently as they were crowned win­ners of the 2016 Go for Life Games.

Over 300 peo­ple from across Ire­land at­tended the games, which are now in their fifth year, on Satur­day, June 11. The Go for Life Games is one of the big­gest leisure sports events for older peo­ple in Ire­land and is run by Age & Op­por­tu­nity, with sup­port from Sport Ire­land.

As the Wick­low squad is split into three teams, it came as a great sur­prise to them to dis­cover that their ag­gre­gate scores saw them share the over­all win­ners’ crown with West­meath.

‘I hadn’t a clue, not a clue in the wide earthly world,’ Finian McEvoy from Laragh, one of the three cap­tains, said about the win when it was an­nounced.

Finian, on be­half of the team, con­grat­u­lated Age & Op­por­tu­nity’s Go for Life pro­gramme and vowed to be back.

‘We had a fan­tas­tic day. The team love it ev­ery year and it’s get­ting bet­ter ev­ery year,’ he said. ‘If we’re alive at all, we’ll be back next year.’

The 2016 games saw the big­gest gath­er­ing of com­peitors yet and all of the teams, made up from Ac­tive Re­tire­ment groups, so­cial clubs, Men’s Sheds, sports clubs and friend­ship groups, have been sup­ported by their Lo­cal Sports Part­ner­ships.

The Wick­low and West­meath teams faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion from teams in Car­low, Ca­van, Clare, Cork, Dublin city and county, Gal­way, Kil­dare, Kilkenny, Laois, Lim­er­ick, Mayo, Meath, Mon­aghan, Of­faly, Tip­per­ary, Water­ford and Wex­ford.

The games them­selves are de­vised specif­i­cally for Go for Life. ‘Lob­bers’ is a tar­get game adapted from pe­tanque and boules; ‘Scidils’ is a two-sided adap­ta­tion of ten pin bowl­ing but us­ing two skit­tles; ‘Flisk’ is adapted from boc­cia and horse­shoe pitch­ing. Easch game can be played and prac­ticed by every­one, no mat­ter what level of sport­ing abil­ity. They are great for de­vel­op­ing bal­ance, flex­i­bil­ity and con­cen­tra­tion.

To find out more about Go for Life in Wick­low, con­tact Ais­ling Hub­bard in Wick­low Lo­cal Sports Part­ner­ship on (0404) 20100, Age & Op­por­tu­nity on (01) 8057738 or visit age­an­doppor­tu­nity.ie. I like to think we’re a pretty nor­mal cou­ple – me and The Artist For­merly Known as Him­self! We get along most of the time, we bicker and have dif­fer­ences of opin­ion on a daily ba­sis not to men­tion the oc­ca­sional row but on the whole af­ter 17 years of mar­riage we’re do­ing ok.

The prob­lem oc­curs when you start mea­sur­ing your­selves against some­one elses mar­riage and we all know at least one cou­ple who ap­pear per­fect. The cou­ple, where the hus­band never slags the wife off or dis­agrees with her point of view. The cou­ple where the wife gazes ador­ingly at him all night, nod­ding in agree­ment at ev­ery word that falls from his lips. And once you start com­par­ing notes with a cou­ple like that, your own mar­riage will al­ways fall short.

This is just to set the scene for a night out we had re­cently with one such cou­ple. Ev­ery sin­gle time we go out with them, which thank­fully is only about once a year, they spend the night smil­ing sweetly across the ta­ble at each other when all we want to do is stab each other with a fork!

So this time I de­cided to have a pep talk with Him­self be­fore we went out. (I can’t keep call­ing him ‘He Who Shall Re­main Name­less’, he’ll just have to deal with the in­famy!) I drew his at­ten­tion to the fact we al­ways row when we’re with them.

‘Now prom­ise we won’t fight tonight?’ I ask him. He smiles re­as­sur­ingly at me. ‘Of course we won’t fight! Don’t be silly. Why would we fight?’ Yes, why? In­deed. ‘So you prom­ise me you’ll be on your best be­hav­iour? And you won’t drink too much?’ He looks in­cred­u­lous. ‘Of course I won’t drink too much!’ In­deed. Again.

Him­self goes off to watch a match in the lo­cal pub. He comes home look­ing smi­ley. I sus­pect cider has been con­sumed. He goes to get ready and pours us both a gen­er­ous drink while we wait on the oth­ers. I can tell al­ready, this is go­ing to end badly.

They ar­rive look­ing as loved up as al­ways. We go to din­ner. Him­self jokes that my dress which is yel­low, makes me look like Big Bird. Ten min­utes in and I want to kill him. We switch the con­ver­sa­tion to hol­i­days. We spend five min­utes ar­gu­ing about the name of the ho­tel we stayed in in Por­tu­gal while the oth­ers smile in­dul­gently.

We or­der wine. The oth­ers aren’t drink­ing wine so we drink our share...and theirs! Him­self starts telling a story about a man on the other side of the restau­rant.

‘Sh­h­h­h­hhh! Stop shout­ing!’ I tell him. ‘I’m not shout­ing!’ he says...shout­ing. We spend an­other five min­utes ar­gu­ing over who came up with our first child’s name. The other wife smiles at her hus­band and says, ‘Oh dear. I think they’re hav­ing a do­mes­tic.’ I now want to clobber her too. Him­self ap­pears mo­men­tar­ily of­fended. ‘We’re not hav­ing a do­mes­tic. We’re like this all the time.’

We pay the bill and leave and they drop us home. ‘ That was lovely, re­ally en­joyed it. We must do it again soon,’ they say.

Can’t wait!

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