Audio Infectious at the Monkstown SC
MIchael Smyth and The Mighty Frog
There’s something heart warming about coming home.
It’s not just the place where your parents raised you.
It’s where you first learned to smile, to laugh, to crawl , to walk, to run, to ride a bike, kick a ball, climb a fence , make friends, make enemies. It was where you first went to school, played your first sport, cringed in the playground at the boys who played catch-a-kissy.
Playing football was a 365 day a year event, unless Wimbledon or the Test Match was on.
It’s where you experienced all sorts of taboos , cadged a fag , supped Concord, mitched school, Strained your eyes on the hunt for magic mushrooms , but hadn’t the swingers to take them or the knowledge to know what they really looked like. To fit in you hated people from the other community, though in reality you’d never met one.
Social Networking wasn’t sites like Facebook and Bebo. It was being a Mod or Skinhead. A Blueman, Glenman or Crusaders man. The game we cringed at in our primary years was now a test of manhood , as we tried to catch-a-kiss from any girl who would let us. No lynx effect in those days. It was a shot of your Da’s ‘Old Spice’ or the splash it all over Brut as worn by our ‘enry.
MC Ribs in full flow
Secondary education comes along and you move on, you broaden your horizons. You leave behind old alliances and forge new ones.
It’s twenty-two years since I was last a Monkstown man in its truest form. Yes I’ve lived there in the intertwining years, but socially I’d moved on. The old haunts, Jacks Lane, The Green Hut , The Ivy Inn and the cosmopolitan (to us anyway) Jordie and the Fern are no longer.
Grammar School, College , playing cricket and football has taken me further away from my roots . To places I’d never envisaged I’d ever be seen. Love takes you even further. Drinks in , wits out my Ma always says. Yet there is no stronger drug than Love. Testosterone and Pheromones are far stronger than your Methadrones of this world. When it kicks in, rhyme and reason are no longer your bedfellows. It had me in its grips and I’ve been to places that in retrospect were a betrayal to all I’d grown up believing.
Then you want to live the dream, settle down and start a family. Another betrayal of your working class roots. No housing executive estate is good enough . You go all Middle Class and suburban. But it’s not living. It’s existing. Your neighbours in the cul-de-sac aren’t friends , they’re rivals. Keeping up with the Joneses is now out-doing the stuck up cow opposite. It’s pathetic !
Following Crusaders, the working mens team . It keeps you grounded . You stand shoulder to shoulder with like-minded people as a collective.
J.B. Priestly once wrote about football ‘ It turned you into a member of a new community, all brothers together for an hour and a half, for not only had you escaped the clanking machinery of this lesser life, from work, from wages, rent, dole , sick pay, insurance cards, nagging wives , ailing children, bad bosses, idle workmen, but you had escaped with most of your mates and your neighbours, with half the town , cheering together, thumping one another on the shoulders, swapping judgements like Lords of the Earth, having pushed your way through a turnstile into another and altogether more splendid life’.
This sums up following Crusaders to me. It’s a release. A Weekly parole from life’s complexities. It’s where we flock of a weekend, like a junkie needing a fix. For that ninety minutes of high . Sometimes the trips good , sometimes it’s bad, but you still keep coming.
Crusaders has been a constant in my ever-changing World. Not all the faces remain the same, but the ethos does. No airs , no graces, everyone mucks in. Much like a microcosm of my growing up environment. Maybe that’s why I feel so needy towards it. I thrive on information about it. Much like the busybody that scandalizes over their neighbours affairs outside the local shops. I Tweet, Post , Status, Surf the Web and harass the Chairman for wee titbits of Info to feed an insatiable appetite for anything Red and Black.
Happy Clappers on the dance floor
Yet the thing that grounds me , has also brought me full circle.
The formation of the Monkstown Crusaders Supporters Club has given me a reason to come home.
A sense of purpose, of duty, of community.
I’m back among true friends. I have no need to explain my actions to these people. They know as much about me as I do. Together we are that Band of Brothers, we walk together as Lords of the Earth.
We enjoy our football, we really enjoy our socializing!
Last night we had a fundraiser in the Monkstown Social Club, DJ Geddis and his mates from Stiff Kitten played to a well attended throng.
The place was bouncing, as I’m sure are the sore heads today. I’m sure everyone attending had a great night. I know I did. We raised a sizeable amount of money which will be ploughed back into supporting Crusaders, whether that be buses or sponsorship. Thanks to everyone who attended , especially John Linton and Brian Moore. A big shout out to Ballymena United’s Right back , who due to the fact that he is a Monkstown man, wasn’t reminded that Marty Donnelly makes him look shite! Thanks too, to Jackie and John of the Monkstown Social Club for their continued support throughout the season. It’s greatly appreciated.
Home isn’t just about the four walls that surround you. It’s more importantly about the people you live among.
It’s good to be home!
For mine is a more splendid life!