Do you remember that kid from your school? The one who was picked on and ridiculed by the other kids? Do you know where that kid is now?
Last month, one man achieved the ultimate revenge on those who bullied him. He managed his county team to win this year’s All-Ireland Hurling Final (a very big deal) and was welcomed home by a crowd of 20,000 supporters in a town with a population of approximately 26,000. That man is Davy Fitzgerald.
As a teen Davy was an easy target for the bullies. He recently spoke of being beaten up and ridiculed on the bus on the way home from school, of taking a longer bus route from school that didn’t quite go all the way to his home, just to avoid the bullies. (You can read more of his experience here.) He has risen above it all. He has been through tough times, then ticked off the achievements and you can’t help but think he is not finished yet.
Davy calls his young team his “family.” There is no doubt that he would – and will – protect them to the last. Nor is there any doubt that he would be the first to give them a very hard time if they don’t behave. It is obvious that the team have huge respect for their manager, a father figure in every way. The team have rewarded him with an All-Ireland win.
There must have been some victims of bullying in that crowd which welcomed the Clare team home, some of them children who are being bullied at this very moment. Hearing of Davy’s experience must give them hope, and maybe the bullies might get the message too.
And as a teacher at my kid’s school once said to the children (I’m paraphrasing here a bit because I heard it second-hand) “Look around you. You might be sitting beside the next Olympic champion, or an All-Ireland medal winner, or the next JK Rowling or One Direction. So don’t write anyone off because they do different stuff to you, or look different, or behave different. That’s what makes life more interesting!”
For more about Hurling: http://www.gaa.ie/about-the-gaa/our-games/hurling/
To see one of the welcomes Davy & his team received: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dvU8rBHSgc
Highlights from the match: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr_JRAut0Ys
And finally, a visitors account of the Hurling Final day: :D