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A Different View

Life in the fast lane not always best option

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Roan Downes, aged 10, from Kinvara, who'll be helping out his grandfather Frank Downes , Chairman of the Galway Branch of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind with the 26th Amphicat Boat Row in Aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind which takes place on the River Corrib this Saturday. Also pictured is Gallagher, the fund raising dog. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When your reaction levels bring you from nought to sixty in about three-quarters of an hour, you seek vindication for your poor fitness levels wherever you can find it – hence the desperate grasping at a new study just released in the US.

Fittingly, it follows on from the recent Rio Olympics where more records were smashed than you’d get at a drunken party in a Greek music store.

But for all of the glory, there is also a downside – or to rework the old analogy: “Run fast, die young.”

The American academic journal, Ageing, studied the life span of medallists from a bygone era – and found that those who finished first also died first . . . on average by four and a half years.

Of course, they could still reflect on their death beds on the scale of their achievement when they climbed to the highest step on the podium – but those who finished behind them then now had the small consolation of at least surviving long enough to wave them off on their final journey.

The findings are based on analysis of the longevity of athletes in the earliest modern Olympics between 1896 and 1936.

What tells its own story is the fact that they chose that time span because they believe that before doping significantly distorted athletic records.

The scientists analysed the performances and life spans of 1,055 athletes from 41 countries and they included only those who survived to the age of 50, thus weeding out those who died in combat in the world wars.

They found that those at greatest risk were the athletes who peaked early and achieved the best results – because they died 4.7 years earlier than their fellow Olympians who peaked later and achieved below-average personal bests.

So they may not have been the quickest on the big day but they also lived life at a pace which kept them in the race a little bit longer.

The serious part of this is that there is a price to be paid for everything – and that includes success.

The great Kerry teams of the seventies and eighties were famously focused on their football above all else; a team of bachelors, as they were called in the language of the day, there was no time for anything other than attaining a level of fitness and skill never before seen on the GAA pitch.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Changing times for the Church – but still a distance left to travel

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s the best part of twenty years since I delivered my one and only sermon to the masses at the Masses – in the salubrious surrounds of Mullingar Cathedral.

It wasn’t an actual sermon of course, but more a talk where the sermon should have been, on a Sunday during Lent in the year 2004.

I’d been in Rwanda with a team from Trocaire, where we’d seen tangible evidence of a world devoid of humanity, ten years after the genocide that had wiped out up to a million Tutsis in one hundred days.

Each year for their Lenten campaign, Trocaire choose a specific region in the world to highlight their work and the plight of the people there – so it might be Honduras after Hurricane Mitch, Nigeria and its endemic food poverty…or, in this case, the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda.

The sheer barbarism of what happened in this Country of a Thousand Hills will remain embedded on my brain for the rest of my days – and that was a decade after it happened. And that’s the story I was telling from the altar in Mullingar Cathedral.

I’d originally be slated down for Saturday evening Mass and then maybe one on Sunday – but I sort of got into a rhythm on Saturday night and volunteered to do all of the Masses the following day.

The final one was the Bishop’s own Mass, and Michael Smith was a man wholeheartedly committed to the work of Trocaire – so even he stood aside to let me at it.

And to crown it all, my wife and two little boys of five and four (as they were) sat in the congregation for this big finale.

But anyone with small children will know that keeping them quiet and attentive for the duration of a Mass is a job of work, and soon they began to grow restless.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Fall in home ownership leaves renters with uncertain future

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Life used to be simple, if predictable; you went to school, got a job – or first did a degree to get a job – bought a house, had a family, paid off the mortgage over 20 years, and accumulated a small nest egg to allow for a fairly comfortable retirement.

Now you’re likely to be paying off your mortgage into those golden years – and that’s if you’re one of the lucky ones. Because you might also be one those who never quite managed to buy, still paying exorbitant rent on a fraction of your former income.

And yet when you read about the rental crisis, it’s just about the here and now – when the real nuclear explosion won’t blow until Generation Rent become pensioners.

But they manage it in other countries, you say – and they do. Because they have rents that are fixed for a lifetime (in some cases even beyond that, so that a family can stay in their home for another generation) and they can’t be evicted just because there’s more to be made as an Airbnb.

Simple economics show that, if your rent is a couple of grand a month and your pension is a fifth or a quarter of your former salary, you won’t be able to keep up the monthly payments.

And then what happens?

Will pensioner tenants be turfed out, forced to live on the streets – or to huddle down in the spare room of their children’s rented accommodation?

If people buy homes now – if they can afford to – it’s already likely to be ten or more years later than their parents did.

And given the more transitory nature of employment these days, they may also move home more than once – unlike the vast majority of their parents, who bought their home after they got married and stayed there for the rest of their lives.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Things we used to do – and habits we never had before

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

One of the realities of getting older is that there are things we used to be able to do that we can’t do now – and things we do now that we never used to do before.

We used to know phone numbers by heart; we used to be able to do basic addition, subtraction, division and multiplication in our heads; we used to tell the time by looking at the big hand and the little hand on a clock.

And if we had a watch it told us the time or if it was very posh, it also told us the date – although very often only if you remembered to push it forward when the month didn’t have 31 days in it.

Now your watch will tell you how many steps you’ve taken in the last 24 hours, what your heart rate is and if there are any emails in your in-box.

We had records or CDs or cassette tapes to store our favourite music; sometimes we still do, but the notion that we could have every song ever recorded on a telephone that wasn’t even plugged into the wall would have been too much to even contemplate.

We went to call boxes to ring home, if we could find one with a phone that wasn’t pulled off its axis – and we kept a supply of two-pence pieces because you needed a pair of them to make the call.

We used to be able to play on a quieter road, even if we had to stop the game and move aside for the occasional car; we used to write letters and wait a week for a reply.

Lego came in a big packet with just a random collection of different sized plastic bricks – and from that you made a house or a car.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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