No, it’s not what happens during the cold and flu season. And it’s not the sport that involves brooms and ice.
Hurling is an ancient field sport – the signature sport of Ireland played by legendary warrior heroes and tens of thousands of athletes around the world – that has been called “the fastest game on grass”. And, surprising to many, Milwaukee just happens to be the home of the largest hurling club outside of Ireland, with a strong youth program that included more than 75 players in the 2011 season.
This spring, the nationally-recognized Milwaukee Hurling Club will offer two free Saturday Youth Clinics at Uihlein Soccer Park (7101 W. Good Hope Road, Milwaukee) on April 14th and April 28th from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Kids from 4 through 15 years of age are invited to sample a hands-on introduction to this fast-paced, exciting game.
Friendly, experienced coaches from the club’s Youth League, as well as current youth and adult players, will walk the participants through basic skills, starting with the proper way to hold and swing the ash “hurley” stick, and progressing into ball handling and the rules of the game. All equipment is provided, but participants should wear soccer cleats or athletic cleats.
The MHC asks that those interested in taking part register in advance by sending the number and ages of children participating, along with the date of the clinic that they plan to attend, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although its roots go back to the world of the ancient Celts, the Irish field sport of hurling shares skills with sports that American kids are already familiar with, like soccer, tennis, hockey, baseball, and lacrosse. Because of this, it makes a great supplemental or off-season training outlet. Even kids who aren’t involved in a sport have found that hurling is a different and fun way to get active and meet new friends.
In addition, the MHC offers the rare opportunity for the entire family to get involved in a sport; several families in the club have members in both the adult and youth leagues.
The recipient of some of the highest honors awarded by the GAA (the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland’s leading sporting organization), as well as several North American Championship titles, the Milwaukee Hurling Club is now beginning its 17th season. The MHC Youth League was formed in 2003, and, since then, the MHC has sent two groups of youngsters to Ireland. The youth have also been the subject of admiring media coverage in Ireland and in the US, including a recent feature in Boys Life.
The first youth practice this year will take place Sunday, April 15 and the club will hold its Opening Day festivities on Sunday, May 20; both will be held at Brown Deer Park in northern Milwaukee County.
Those interested in learning more about the sport and the activities of the Milwaukee Hurling Club are encouraged to visit the club’s website at www.hurling.net.
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