t was still snowing in Providence, Rhode Island when Colleen and I rst had the ideaor Heritage at Play. It was a Saturday evening and with a group o riends we wereshowing Youube clips o this and that. It was too cold to go anywhere, so we enter-tained ourselves by traveling in the ree, networked media o our global age.Aer watching a number o mishap-lled videos, one riend insisted on showing us a clip o something called “Road Bowling.” It was an Irish pastime, he said, and it eatured Irishmeno all ages pitching what appeared to be cannonballs down narrow country lanes. He wasstruck by how wonderully strange the games were, and how happy the players looked. As were we all really. Watching the video, I was reminded o something I had long orgotten; having once worked with a number o Irish sailors at a community boating center in Newport, Rhode Island, Ihad been exposed to an odd Irish game mysel. It eatured a long wooden paddle and a smallleather ball. But what was it called? I couldn’t remember. So I tried a ew queries about Irishgames and wooden paddles beore returning a short video highlight rom a game o hurl-ing. Hurling. Tat was the game. Look at this, I said to my road bowling riend, you want anincredible game? Look at this!Later that evening, with our riends away, Colleen and I went back over the videos. Tehurling had re-opened a long orgotten passion: the powerul excitement o seeing a com- pletely new game and trying to puzzle out its rules, participants, and passion. But no matterhow many videos I loaded, I simply could not make sense o the game. And no matter howmany videos I watched I ound mysel driven to watch more. Tis game was beautiul andremarkable. It seemed completely novel and notably un-globalized. For even while many o my riends including Colleen were Irish-American, the game was a complete enigma. Unlikeshamrocks, Guinness, and St. Patrick, this game simply had not made the voyage across theAtlantic into the popular consciousness o Irish-America.
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