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Shinty

Iomain

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Subtitles: Gaelic Fo-thiotalan: Gàidhlig Subtitles: English Fo-thiotalan: Beurla Subtitles: none Às aonais fo-thiotalan Download text (Gaelic and English) Faigh an teacsa (Gàidhlig agus Beurla)

Iomain

Gaelic Gàidhlig

Agallamh le Iain Tormod MacLeòid: Iomain

Presenter: Seumas Dòmhnallach (James MacDonald)

[SEUMAS] Cuide rinn an-dràsta tha Iain Tormod MacLeòid à Stafainn anns an Eilean Sgitheanach aig a bheil ùidh mhòr ann an iomain. Fàilte ort, Iain Thormoid. Innis dhuinn an toiseach, ma-thà, ciamar a chuir thu fhèin eòlas air a' gheama a tha seo ris an can sinn iomain.

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, tha mi a' creidsinn gur ann anns an sgoil a thòisich mi fhìn. Bhiodh iomain againn anns a' bhun-sgoil, ach chan e iomain mar a bha mi fhìn eòlach air nuair a chaidh mi dhan àrd-sgoil a bh' ann. Cha robh camain cheart mar sin againn. Ach nuair a chaidh mi dhan àrd-sgoil, ghabh mi ùidh mhòr anns an iomain, agus bha aon duine, tha mi a' creidsinn gu sònraichte a bha a' togail an ùidh againn anns an iomain, agus 's e sin DR Dòmhnallach, a bha a' teagasg Gàidhlig. Mar sin, bhithinn a' cluich iomain a h-uile feasgar Dihaoine. Bha cothroman againn a bhith a' dol amach 's a bhith a' feuchainn rudan eadar-dhealaichte agus bhithinn a' cluich an uairsin anns an sgoil agus chùm mi orm nuair a chaidh mi dhan an oilthigh cuideachd a' cluich iomain agus às dèidh nuair a thill mi dhan oilthigh agus bha mi fhìn a' teagasg bha mi an uairsin a' dèanamh tòrr trèanadh còmhla ri na balaich òga 's chùm mi orm thairis air na bliadhnaichean mar sin, a' cluich beagan ach a' dèanamh barrachd obair còmhla ri òigridh.

[SEUMAS] Seadh. Ciamar a chaidh fear nach robh a' cluich mòran iomain sa bhun-sgoil, mar a thuirt thu fhèin, ciamar a chaidh a tharraing dhan a' ghèam cho sgiobalta nuair a chaidh e dhan an àrd-sgoil?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, a-rithist, cha robh mòran 's dòcha bhon an sgìre agam fhìn anns a' chiad dol amach a' cluich. Cha bhiodh sinn a' cluich, fhios agad, às dèidh na sgoile no càil dhe sin. Ach chanainn fhìn gur e sin a bh' ann, dìreach gun do ghabh mi iomain nuair a chaidh mi dhan an àrd-sgoil agus bha e a' còrdadh rium math fhèin. 'S bha tòrr dhe na balaich an uairsin cuideachd a bha a' gabhail Gàidhlig, bha mise a' faireachadh. Bha iad còmhla rinn. Mar sin, bhiodh tòrr fealla-dhà againn 's mean air mhean, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu robh iomain dìreach a' fàs nas làidire anns an sgoil cuideachd agus, mar sin, bha sin a' togail m' ùidh.

[SEUMAS] Do dhuine nach eil eòlach air iomain, innis dhuinn mun a' ghèam. Dè an seòrsa gèam a th' ann?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's e ... Tha mi a' creidsinn gur e a' chiad rud mu dheidhinn tha thu ga chluich le caman, agus ... Innis dhomh dè a th' ann an caman. Uill, caman, 's e tha, maide, dh'fhaodadh tu a ràdh anns an dòigh sin a th' ann. Tha e air a dhèanamh de fiodh eadar-dhealaichte, ach tha an caman, faodaidh tu a bhualadh taobh seach taobh. Bidh daoine ag ràdh, "O tha iomain coltach ri hocaidh." Uill, chan eil anns an dòigh sin idir. Tha ... Faodaidh tu a bhualadh bho gach taobh. Ma tha thu a' cluich, can, anns an loidhne dìon aig a' chùlaibh bhiodh caman nas motha agad airson am ball a thogail nas àirde. Ma tha thu a' cluich anns an loidhne toisich, aig an aghaidh, bhiodh an caman agad ... bhiodh e caran flat mar a chanadh sinn airson am ball a chumail ìosal. 'S e gèam gu math luath a th' ann, gèam cruaidh a th' ann ann an tòrr dhòighean agus feumaidh deagh shùil a bhith agad. Feumaidh tu a bhith math air am ball a bhualadh cuideachd, ach tha mi a' faireachadh an seòrsa gèam a th' ann, tha thu gu mòr tha thu a' cluich an aghaidh an duine a tha thu suas na aghaidh, fhios agad? Tha e gu math ... Fhios agad, chan eil thu ... Tha an sgioba cudromach, ach tha e cudromach cuideachd cò a tha thusa a' cluich na aghaidh, chanainn. Gèam luath, ge-tà. Tha thu air ais 's air adhart. Tha am ball a' dol sìos is suas a' phàirce agus ... Och, gèam math anns an dòigh sin.

[SEUMAS] Bhruidhinn thu an siud air a bhith a' bualadh a' bhuill suas is sìos a' phàirce. Dè an seòrsa ball a th' ann? Cò ris a tha e coltach?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's e ball gu math cruaidh a th' ann. Cha chreid leamsa an-diugh gu bheil e cho cruaidh 's a bha e. Nuair a thòisich mise a' cluich, 's e ball dubh a bh' ann, leathair dubh, 's nuair a thigeadh e a-mach 's a' chiad turas, bha e coltach ri cnap guail. Ach bhon uairsin, tha na buill ... Saoilidh mise nach eil iad cho cruaidh 's a bha iad. Tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil iad a' tighinn à Èirinn a-nise, feadhainn dhiubh cuideachd, agus 's e rud a' tha mi fhìn a' faireachadh mu dheidhinn an gèam, thairis air na bliadhnaichean, gu h-àraid air, can, anns an ùine a bha mi fhìn a' tòiseachadh air trèanadh òigridh, gu bheil an gèam a-nise air fàs, chanain-sa, nas sàbhailte no nas fheàrr airson feadhainn òga a bhith ga chluich, chan e a-mhàin balaich, ach nigheanan cuideachd. 'S tha ball ... Gheibh thu ball nas buige, agus cuideachd, bidh daoine a' cur orra clogadan a-nise, rud nach robh ann nuair a thòisich mise a' cluich iomain. 'S mar sin, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil an gèam air fàs tòrr nas fheàrr airson daoine eadar-dhealaichte, aoisean eadardhealaichte, a bhith a' cluich an geama. Agus faodaidh tu cuideachd a bhith a' cluich an geama taobh a-staigh talla. Tha, mar a chanas sinn ann am Beurla, "first shinty" ann, le camain a tha air an dèanamh de phlastaig 's de rubair, 's tha sin math cuideachd, dìreach airson na sgilean agus misneachd aig an òigridh a thogail agus an ùidh aca a thogail anns a' ghèam a tha seo.

[SEUMAS] A bheil thu a' smaoineachadh gu bheil na h-atharraichidhean air a bheil thu a' bruidhinn an sin, clogadan, sàbhailteachd, a' toirt atharrachadh air stoidhle a' ghèam?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's dòcha gu bheil, gu ìre. Tha mi a' creidsinn, 's dòcha ma tha clogad ort, 's dòcha gu bheil thu a' faireachdainn gu bheil thu fhèin nas sàbhailte ach, an dèidh sin, 's e an rud, chan eil an gèam ag atharrachadh. Feumaidh tu ionnsachadh gu math tràth ciamar a tha thu a' dol a-staigh, mar a chanas sinn, airson "tackle" a dhèanamh. Ma tha thu a' feuchainn ri stad 's dòcha an caman aig an duine eile no am ball a stad, ach cuideachd, feumaidh tu a bhith faiceallach nuair a tha thu a' dol faisg air duine a tha a' bualadh, a' bualadh ball, gun tig thu a-staigh air an taobh cheart, no dh'fhaodadh an caman bualadh annad. Mar sin, tha e uabhasach fhèin cudromach gu bheil a h-uile rud a tha sin air a theagasg anns a' chiad dol amach.

[SEUMAS] A bheil thu a' smaoineachadh, ann an seadh spòrs, gu bheil iomain ag ionnsachadh dhut a bhith a' cur dìon ort fhèin?

[IAIN TORMOD] Tha sin fìor. Agus chan e a-mhàin ort fhèin. Chanain-sa gu bheil e cudromach cuideachd gu bheil thu a' smaoineachadh air na daoine a tha thu a' cluich, a cluich nan aghaidh, agus chan e ... Bidh feadhainn de dhaoine a' smaoineachadh mar as cruaidhe no mar as motha a bheir thu buile air a' bhall no a bheir thu an caman air ais gu bheil sin nas fheàrr. Chan eil. Mar as luaithe ... Tha e mu dheidhinn a bhith a faighinn ... a bhith a' gluasad luath leis a h-uile rud a th' ann, ach tha e cudromach gu bheil thu ag ionnsachadh dìreach a bhith sàbhailte anns a' chiad dol a-mach agus gu bheil a h-uile duine sàbhailte.

[SEUMAS] Mar sin, slaic no dhà, agus chan eil thu fada ag ionnsachadh mar a sheallas tu às do dhèidh fhèin?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil sin fìor, fìor mu ar beatha, 's fìor mu dheidhinn tòrr rudan, dìreach gu bheil thu a' tuigsinn an uairsin gu bheil agad ri bhith caran faiceallach cuideachd agus cùramach, agus cùramach, tha mise a' smaoineachadh cuideachd, mu dheidhinn daoine eile. Tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil sin cudromach.

[SEUMAS] Iain Tormod, tapadh leat.

[IAIN TORMOD] Mòran taing.

Shinty

English Beurla

Interview with John Norman MacLeod: Shinty

Presenter: Seumas Dòmhnallach (James MacDonald)

[JAMES] With us now is John Norman MacLeod from Staffin on the Isle of Skye who has a special interest in shinty. Welcome, John Norman. Tell us first of all how you were introduced to this game we call shinty?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, I think it was in school that I first started. We played shinty in primary school, but it wasn't the sort of shinty I got used to after moving to secondary school. We didn't have proper camans as such. But when I went to secondary school, I took more of an interest in shinty, and there was one man especially who encouraged my interest in shinty, and that was DR MacDonald, who taught Gaelic. So I used to play shinty every Friday afternoon. We had the opportunity to go out and try different things and I used to play then in school and I carried on playing shinty when I went to university too and after I returned from university I was then a teacher myself, and I then did a lot of training with the young lads and I continued like that for many years, playing a little, but doing more work with young people.

[JAMES] Right. How did someone who didn't play much shinty in primary school, as you yourself said, how did he become so keen on this game so quickly after moving to secondary school?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, again, there weren't many people from my local area who played in the first place. We didn't play, you know, after school or anything like that. But I'd say that's what it was, just that I tried shinty when I went to secondary school and I really enjoyed it. And also a lot of the lads at that time were taking Gaelic, and I felt they were with us. As a result, we had a great laugh, and little by little, I think shinty was becoming more popular in the school, too and so that also encouraged my interest.

[JAMES] For someone who knows very little about shinty, tell me about the game. What sort of game is it?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, it's ... I suppose the first thing about it is that it's played with a caman, and ... Explain to me what a caman is. Well, a caman is ... I suppose in a way, you could say it's a stick. It's made from different types of wood, but the caman, you can strike with either side of it. People say, "Oh, shinty is like hockey." Well, it isn't in that respect. You ... You can strike with either side of it. If you're playing, for example, in the defensive line at the back, you'd have a larger caman to lift the ball higher. If you're playing in the attacking line, at the front, your caman would be ... it would be quite flat, as we'd say to keep the ball low. It's a very fast-paced game, a very hard game in many ways and you need a good eye. You have to be able to hit the ball well too, but I feel that it's the type of game where you're really playing against the player marking you, you know? It's very ... You know, you aren't ... The team is important, but I'd say the player you're up against is also important. It's a very fast game. You move back and fore. The ball goes up and down the pitch, and ... Oh, it's a great game in that respect.

[JAMES] You spoke there about hitting the ball up and down the pitch. What sort of ball is it? What's it like?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, it's a very hard ball. I don't believe they're as hard as they used to be. When I first started, it was a black ball, black leather, and the first time you played with it, it was like a lump of coal. But since then, the balls are ... I don't think they're as hard as they used to be. I think some of them also come over from Ireland nowadays, and I feel that the game has, over the years, especially, for example, in the time that I've been coaching youngsters, I'd say that the game has become safer, or at least more suitable for younger players, not just boys, but girls too. And the ball ... You can get softer balls, and also some people now wear helmets, which was unheard of when I started playing shinty. And so, I think the game has become much better for different people, for different ages to play the game. And you can also play the game indoors in a hall. In English, it's called first shinty, and uses camans made of plastic and rubber, and that's also good from the point of view of improving the skills and the confidence of young players and to encourage their interest in this game.

[JAMES] Do you believe that the changes you've just been speaking about, helmets, safety, are changing the style of the game?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, perhaps to a degree. I suppose that if you're wearing a helmet, you may feel that you, personally, are safer but even so, the game hasn't changed. You have to learn early on how to go in, as we say, for a tackle. If you're trying to block the other player's caman or stop the ball, but you also have to be careful when you're approaching a player who is striking, striking the ball, that you approach from the right side, or the caman could hit you. So it's very important that all of this is taught in the first place.

[JAMES] Do you think, in a sporting sense, that shinty teaches you to defend yourself?

[JOHN NORMAN] That's true. And not just yourself. I'd say that it's also important to think about the people you are playing, playing against, and not just ... Some people think that the harder or more violently you hit the ball or raise the caman, the better it is. It isn't. The faster ... It's about getting ... about moving everything very quickly, but it's also important that you learn how to be safe in the first place and that everyone is safe.

[JAMES] So, after a couple of strikes, it doesn't take long to learn how to look after yourself?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, I think that's true, true of our lives and true of many things, just that you then understand that you also have to be rather cautious and careful, and careful, I think, for other people too. I think that's important.

[JAMES] John Norman, thank you.

[JOHN NORMAN] Thank you.

Iomain

Gaelic Gàidhlig

Agallamh le Iain Tormod MacLeòid: Iomain

Presenter: Seumas Dòmhnallach (James MacDonald)

[SEUMAS] Cuide rinn an-dràsta tha Iain Tormod MacLeòid à Stafainn anns an Eilean Sgitheanach aig a bheil ùidh mhòr ann an iomain. Fàilte ort, Iain Thormoid. Innis dhuinn an toiseach, ma-thà, ciamar a chuir thu fhèin eòlas air a' gheama a tha seo ris an can sinn iomain.

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, tha mi a' creidsinn gur ann anns an sgoil a thòisich mi fhìn. Bhiodh iomain againn anns a' bhun-sgoil, ach chan e iomain mar a bha mi fhìn eòlach air nuair a chaidh mi dhan àrd-sgoil a bh' ann. Cha robh camain cheart mar sin againn. Ach nuair a chaidh mi dhan àrd-sgoil, ghabh mi ùidh mhòr anns an iomain, agus bha aon duine, tha mi a' creidsinn gu sònraichte a bha a' togail an ùidh againn anns an iomain, agus 's e sin DR Dòmhnallach, a bha a' teagasg Gàidhlig. Mar sin, bhithinn a' cluich iomain a h-uile feasgar Dihaoine. Bha cothroman againn a bhith a' dol amach 's a bhith a' feuchainn rudan eadar-dhealaichte agus bhithinn a' cluich an uairsin anns an sgoil agus chùm mi orm nuair a chaidh mi dhan an oilthigh cuideachd a' cluich iomain agus às dèidh nuair a thill mi dhan oilthigh agus bha mi fhìn a' teagasg bha mi an uairsin a' dèanamh tòrr trèanadh còmhla ri na balaich òga 's chùm mi orm thairis air na bliadhnaichean mar sin, a' cluich beagan ach a' dèanamh barrachd obair còmhla ri òigridh.

[SEUMAS] Seadh. Ciamar a chaidh fear nach robh a' cluich mòran iomain sa bhun-sgoil, mar a thuirt thu fhèin, ciamar a chaidh a tharraing dhan a' ghèam cho sgiobalta nuair a chaidh e dhan an àrd-sgoil?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, a-rithist, cha robh mòran 's dòcha bhon an sgìre agam fhìn anns a' chiad dol amach a' cluich. Cha bhiodh sinn a' cluich, fhios agad, às dèidh na sgoile no càil dhe sin. Ach chanainn fhìn gur e sin a bh' ann, dìreach gun do ghabh mi iomain nuair a chaidh mi dhan an àrd-sgoil agus bha e a' còrdadh rium math fhèin. 'S bha tòrr dhe na balaich an uairsin cuideachd a bha a' gabhail Gàidhlig, bha mise a' faireachadh. Bha iad còmhla rinn. Mar sin, bhiodh tòrr fealla-dhà againn 's mean air mhean, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu robh iomain dìreach a' fàs nas làidire anns an sgoil cuideachd agus, mar sin, bha sin a' togail m' ùidh.

[SEUMAS] Do dhuine nach eil eòlach air iomain, innis dhuinn mun a' ghèam. Dè an seòrsa gèam a th' ann?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's e ... Tha mi a' creidsinn gur e a' chiad rud mu dheidhinn tha thu ga chluich le caman, agus ... Innis dhomh dè a th' ann an caman. Uill, caman, 's e tha, maide, dh'fhaodadh tu a ràdh anns an dòigh sin a th' ann. Tha e air a dhèanamh de fiodh eadar-dhealaichte, ach tha an caman, faodaidh tu a bhualadh taobh seach taobh. Bidh daoine ag ràdh, "O tha iomain coltach ri hocaidh." Uill, chan eil anns an dòigh sin idir. Tha ... Faodaidh tu a bhualadh bho gach taobh. Ma tha thu a' cluich, can, anns an loidhne dìon aig a' chùlaibh bhiodh caman nas motha agad airson am ball a thogail nas àirde. Ma tha thu a' cluich anns an loidhne toisich, aig an aghaidh, bhiodh an caman agad ... bhiodh e caran flat mar a chanadh sinn airson am ball a chumail ìosal. 'S e gèam gu math luath a th' ann, gèam cruaidh a th' ann ann an tòrr dhòighean agus feumaidh deagh shùil a bhith agad. Feumaidh tu a bhith math air am ball a bhualadh cuideachd, ach tha mi a' faireachadh an seòrsa gèam a th' ann, tha thu gu mòr tha thu a' cluich an aghaidh an duine a tha thu suas na aghaidh, fhios agad? Tha e gu math ... Fhios agad, chan eil thu ... Tha an sgioba cudromach, ach tha e cudromach cuideachd cò a tha thusa a' cluich na aghaidh, chanainn. Gèam luath, ge-tà. Tha thu air ais 's air adhart. Tha am ball a' dol sìos is suas a' phàirce agus ... Och, gèam math anns an dòigh sin.

[SEUMAS] Bhruidhinn thu an siud air a bhith a' bualadh a' bhuill suas is sìos a' phàirce. Dè an seòrsa ball a th' ann? Cò ris a tha e coltach?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's e ball gu math cruaidh a th' ann. Cha chreid leamsa an-diugh gu bheil e cho cruaidh 's a bha e. Nuair a thòisich mise a' cluich, 's e ball dubh a bh' ann, leathair dubh, 's nuair a thigeadh e a-mach 's a' chiad turas, bha e coltach ri cnap guail. Ach bhon uairsin, tha na buill ... Saoilidh mise nach eil iad cho cruaidh 's a bha iad. Tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil iad a' tighinn à Èirinn a-nise, feadhainn dhiubh cuideachd, agus 's e rud a' tha mi fhìn a' faireachadh mu dheidhinn an gèam, thairis air na bliadhnaichean, gu h-àraid air, can, anns an ùine a bha mi fhìn a' tòiseachadh air trèanadh òigridh, gu bheil an gèam a-nise air fàs, chanain-sa, nas sàbhailte no nas fheàrr airson feadhainn òga a bhith ga chluich, chan e a-mhàin balaich, ach nigheanan cuideachd. 'S tha ball ... Gheibh thu ball nas buige, agus cuideachd, bidh daoine a' cur orra clogadan a-nise, rud nach robh ann nuair a thòisich mise a' cluich iomain. 'S mar sin, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil an gèam air fàs tòrr nas fheàrr airson daoine eadar-dhealaichte, aoisean eadardhealaichte, a bhith a' cluich an geama. Agus faodaidh tu cuideachd a bhith a' cluich an geama taobh a-staigh talla. Tha, mar a chanas sinn ann am Beurla, "first shinty" ann, le camain a tha air an dèanamh de phlastaig 's de rubair, 's tha sin math cuideachd, dìreach airson na sgilean agus misneachd aig an òigridh a thogail agus an ùidh aca a thogail anns a' ghèam a tha seo.

[SEUMAS] A bheil thu a' smaoineachadh gu bheil na h-atharraichidhean air a bheil thu a' bruidhinn an sin, clogadan, sàbhailteachd, a' toirt atharrachadh air stoidhle a' ghèam?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, 's dòcha gu bheil, gu ìre. Tha mi a' creidsinn, 's dòcha ma tha clogad ort, 's dòcha gu bheil thu a' faireachdainn gu bheil thu fhèin nas sàbhailte ach, an dèidh sin, 's e an rud, chan eil an gèam ag atharrachadh. Feumaidh tu ionnsachadh gu math tràth ciamar a tha thu a' dol a-staigh, mar a chanas sinn, airson "tackle" a dhèanamh. Ma tha thu a' feuchainn ri stad 's dòcha an caman aig an duine eile no am ball a stad, ach cuideachd, feumaidh tu a bhith faiceallach nuair a tha thu a' dol faisg air duine a tha a' bualadh, a' bualadh ball, gun tig thu a-staigh air an taobh cheart, no dh'fhaodadh an caman bualadh annad. Mar sin, tha e uabhasach fhèin cudromach gu bheil a h-uile rud a tha sin air a theagasg anns a' chiad dol amach.

[SEUMAS] A bheil thu a' smaoineachadh, ann an seadh spòrs, gu bheil iomain ag ionnsachadh dhut a bhith a' cur dìon ort fhèin?

[IAIN TORMOD] Tha sin fìor. Agus chan e a-mhàin ort fhèin. Chanain-sa gu bheil e cudromach cuideachd gu bheil thu a' smaoineachadh air na daoine a tha thu a' cluich, a cluich nan aghaidh, agus chan e ... Bidh feadhainn de dhaoine a' smaoineachadh mar as cruaidhe no mar as motha a bheir thu buile air a' bhall no a bheir thu an caman air ais gu bheil sin nas fheàrr. Chan eil. Mar as luaithe ... Tha e mu dheidhinn a bhith a faighinn ... a bhith a' gluasad luath leis a h-uile rud a th' ann, ach tha e cudromach gu bheil thu ag ionnsachadh dìreach a bhith sàbhailte anns a' chiad dol a-mach agus gu bheil a h-uile duine sàbhailte.

[SEUMAS] Mar sin, slaic no dhà, agus chan eil thu fada ag ionnsachadh mar a sheallas tu às do dhèidh fhèin?

[IAIN TORMOD] Uill, tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil sin fìor, fìor mu ar beatha, 's fìor mu dheidhinn tòrr rudan, dìreach gu bheil thu a' tuigsinn an uairsin gu bheil agad ri bhith caran faiceallach cuideachd agus cùramach, agus cùramach, tha mise a' smaoineachadh cuideachd, mu dheidhinn daoine eile. Tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil sin cudromach.

[SEUMAS] Iain Tormod, tapadh leat.

[IAIN TORMOD] Mòran taing.

Shinty

English Beurla

Interview with John Norman MacLeod: Shinty

Presenter: Seumas Dòmhnallach (James MacDonald)

[JAMES] With us now is John Norman MacLeod from Staffin on the Isle of Skye who has a special interest in shinty. Welcome, John Norman. Tell us first of all how you were introduced to this game we call shinty?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, I think it was in school that I first started. We played shinty in primary school, but it wasn't the sort of shinty I got used to after moving to secondary school. We didn't have proper camans as such. But when I went to secondary school, I took more of an interest in shinty, and there was one man especially who encouraged my interest in shinty, and that was DR MacDonald, who taught Gaelic. So I used to play shinty every Friday afternoon. We had the opportunity to go out and try different things and I used to play then in school and I carried on playing shinty when I went to university too and after I returned from university I was then a teacher myself, and I then did a lot of training with the young lads and I continued like that for many years, playing a little, but doing more work with young people.

[JAMES] Right. How did someone who didn't play much shinty in primary school, as you yourself said, how did he become so keen on this game so quickly after moving to secondary school?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, again, there weren't many people from my local area who played in the first place. We didn't play, you know, after school or anything like that. But I'd say that's what it was, just that I tried shinty when I went to secondary school and I really enjoyed it. And also a lot of the lads at that time were taking Gaelic, and I felt they were with us. As a result, we had a great laugh, and little by little, I think shinty was becoming more popular in the school, too and so that also encouraged my interest.

[JAMES] For someone who knows very little about shinty, tell me about the game. What sort of game is it?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, it's ... I suppose the first thing about it is that it's played with a caman, and ... Explain to me what a caman is. Well, a caman is ... I suppose in a way, you could say it's a stick. It's made from different types of wood, but the caman, you can strike with either side of it. People say, "Oh, shinty is like hockey." Well, it isn't in that respect. You ... You can strike with either side of it. If you're playing, for example, in the defensive line at the back, you'd have a larger caman to lift the ball higher. If you're playing in the attacking line, at the front, your caman would be ... it would be quite flat, as we'd say to keep the ball low. It's a very fast-paced game, a very hard game in many ways and you need a good eye. You have to be able to hit the ball well too, but I feel that it's the type of game where you're really playing against the player marking you, you know? It's very ... You know, you aren't ... The team is important, but I'd say the player you're up against is also important. It's a very fast game. You move back and fore. The ball goes up and down the pitch, and ... Oh, it's a great game in that respect.

[JAMES] You spoke there about hitting the ball up and down the pitch. What sort of ball is it? What's it like?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, it's a very hard ball. I don't believe they're as hard as they used to be. When I first started, it was a black ball, black leather, and the first time you played with it, it was like a lump of coal. But since then, the balls are ... I don't think they're as hard as they used to be. I think some of them also come over from Ireland nowadays, and I feel that the game has, over the years, especially, for example, in the time that I've been coaching youngsters, I'd say that the game has become safer, or at least more suitable for younger players, not just boys, but girls too. And the ball ... You can get softer balls, and also some people now wear helmets, which was unheard of when I started playing shinty. And so, I think the game has become much better for different people, for different ages to play the game. And you can also play the game indoors in a hall. In English, it's called first shinty, and uses camans made of plastic and rubber, and that's also good from the point of view of improving the skills and the confidence of young players and to encourage their interest in this game.

[JAMES] Do you believe that the changes you've just been speaking about, helmets, safety, are changing the style of the game?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, perhaps to a degree. I suppose that if you're wearing a helmet, you may feel that you, personally, are safer but even so, the game hasn't changed. You have to learn early on how to go in, as we say, for a tackle. If you're trying to block the other player's caman or stop the ball, but you also have to be careful when you're approaching a player who is striking, striking the ball, that you approach from the right side, or the caman could hit you. So it's very important that all of this is taught in the first place.

[JAMES] Do you think, in a sporting sense, that shinty teaches you to defend yourself?

[JOHN NORMAN] That's true. And not just yourself. I'd say that it's also important to think about the people you are playing, playing against, and not just ... Some people think that the harder or more violently you hit the ball or raise the caman, the better it is. It isn't. The faster ... It's about getting ... about moving everything very quickly, but it's also important that you learn how to be safe in the first place and that everyone is safe.

[JAMES] So, after a couple of strikes, it doesn't take long to learn how to look after yourself?

[JOHN NORMAN] Well, I think that's true, true of our lives and true of many things, just that you then understand that you also have to be rather cautious and careful, and careful, I think, for other people too. I think that's important.

[JAMES] John Norman, thank you.

[JOHN NORMAN] Thank you.

Show English

look@LearnGaelic is a series of videos aimed at learners of Scottish Gaelic. It features a variety of styles, including interviews with experts and Gaelic learners, monologues and conversations. Use the links above to select subtitles in English or Gaelic - or to turn them off altogether. 'S e sreath de bhidiothan gu sònraichte do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig a th' ann an look@LearnGaelic. Bidh measgachadh de mhonologan ann, agallamhan le eòlaichean is luchd-ionnsachaidh, agus còmhraidhean. Gheibhear fo-thiotalan anns a' Ghàidhlig agus ann am Beurla.