An acquaintance I met on Saturday reminded me of one of my old sayings - "I can handle the defeats - It's the hope that gets you".
You see - for my troubles I follow Mayo in GAA, Ireland in Rugby, and Liverpool in soccer. With the notable (but sporadic) exception of Liverpool each of these teams has promised much and then failed to deliver when it mattered most. This would not be so bad if each of these teams did not show flashes of brilliance which make you think maybe ... just maybe ... this is the year, this is the team: Mayo in 1996, 1997, 2004 & 2006; Ireland in 2007 & Liverpool pretty much every year but 2005. They beat the favourites or put in a performance that would beat any team in the competition - they light a candle in your cynical sporting heart - logic is dispelled and you are left with that most fragile and schitzophrenic of emotions - Hope.
Hope has seduced me in the past, she has put on her best dress, winked and beckoned me to come hither. I have bought her drinks and danced the night with her and she has smiled warmly, looked me in the eye and then whispered in my ear to wait while she got her coat .... I have waited many times over too many years only to see her disappearing out the door with her old boyfriends: Kerry, France and Man U leaving me with her ugly cousin - disappointment.
And so I have become parsimonious with hope - I do not buy her a drink nor invite her to sit beside me, I do not seek her out and yet she finds me. She was in Croke Park on Saturday like Salome - alluring and exciting - making promises I know she may not keep and yet when she whispered in my ear I thought maybe this is the time ....