In our interview series we take the time to get to know our players and members and get a little insight into their lives. We find out about their experiences of Gaelic football and hurling, how they came to the sports, their experience with the Celtics, life in Germany and in particular about life in our „Domstadt“.
As well as that we look to discover any cultural misunderstandings or differences they have felt and the vital questions such as the best place to get a cold Guinness. This time we’d like to introduce you to Katharina, not only a dear member but also our Public Relations Officer.
What brings you to Cologne?
I was born in Cologne and grew up in a small village close by. Cologne has always been the city I would go to for shopping, partying and having a good time. Seven years ago, I moved here to be closer to work and all that happens in the city.
How did you come across the Cologne Celtics?
I came across the Cologne Celtics through Lea 😉 She discovered and joined the club first and then told me about it.
Had you heard much about the GAA before joining the Cologne Celtics?
I didn’t hear much about the GAA before I joined the club. I just knew that it existed through my experiences living in Ireland a few years ago.
How would you describe Hurling and Gaelic Football?
I always have to explain these sports to family and friends. I often use the term „weird and special, but in a good way“. Gaelic football is similar to football, but you can use your hands too, like in basketball. In Hurling, you can hit a small ball with a stick like in baseball. I know it is more than that and not as easily explained as „Football with hands“ or „Baseball with a flat bat“! But sometimes it is hard to explain to people who only know the common sports. In the end, they always say, „as long as you enjoy it,“ and I always reply, „I do!“.
Is there a difference between them and more “traditional sports” in Germany? Football, handball, volleyball etc.
Apart from the obvious differences I think they have a lot in common. These sports bring people of all ages together! In Germany it is common to start with Football at a young age, sometimes even before you have learned how to walk properly. And even if you never joined a team, everyone knows how to play it and almost every kid has at least one football during his/her childhood. Its the same in Ireland with Gaelic Football and Hurling. But to be honest, I think almost every kid there has joined their hometown club 🙂
Which is your preferred sport – Hurling or Gaelic Football? Why?
I prefer Hurling! But I also enjoy a little bit of Gaelic Football from time to time. I actually like playing a sport almost nobody knows. You always have a good icebreaker or stuff to talk about when someone sees you with your hurley or when you get asked what you do in your free-time. It is of course a lot of fun as well. I love seeing my improvement since I started last year. Maybe it is also because I did play Football and now I enjoy playing a sport (hurling) which is not even close to that, something new!
What did you know about Ireland prior to playing GAA?
I did know a lot about Ireland before I started playing. That is actually the reason why I started. I spent 7 months in Ireland after I graduated from school. I fell in love with the country right away! Learned a lot about its people and their culture. And I have to admit that I don’t know that much about its sports. But that’s where I met Lea, and she brought me to the Cologne Celtics to learn more about it.
What have you learned about Ireland / Irish people since joining the Cologne Celtics GAA club?
I think I have learned something new about Ireland/Irish people since I joined. I find Irish people really funny and love their „Irish way of life“.
What does the Cologne Celtics GAA club mean to you?
The Cologne Celtics means a lot to me. Apart from all the fun playing, I really enjoy spending time with the teammates. It always reminds me of the time I spent in Ireland. There is always someone to have a pint with or do some extra jogging or have a board game evening with.
What have you learned about the German / European GAA scene since joining the club?
To be honest, not much. I think that it is not well known outside of Ireland, but that is changing. There are only a few clubs that you need to travel to in Germany/Europe to play matches. But that is a fact that I really like. You have to see „the world“ to meet people who like the same sport as you.
How would you convince those who are interested but have not yet joined in to join their local GAA club?
I would persuade them to try it at least once. And I guarantee they will have fun and moments of success even though it is the first time! The team is super supportive. They always encourage their teammates! Sometimes it seems ridiculous what you will get a „WELL DONE“ for. But secretly, I like it; it feels good and joining the club does what it is supposed to do, in that it encourages me.
Where will you be in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope that I’m at a better fitness level, even though I’ll be 5 years older. But we have plenty of players that show that you can be like superhero-fit with an age beyond the 20 or even 30 😉 I also hope that we’ll be playing with more girls/women in a proper team together.