Creed's show puts hurling in all new perspective
With a stronger spotlight currently being shone on both the physical and mental health of both club and county players, it is perhaps opportune that Timmy Creed, a former Cork hurler, is performing his one-man show 'Spliced' in An Culturlainn on the Falls Road, Belfast today and tomorrow (8pm) as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival.
In bringing sport and drama together, Creed gives an insight into his own involvement with what is still regarded as the fastest field game in the world.
Creed's love-hate relationship with the sport is, if truth be told, probably similar to that experienced by many players, whose devotion to their chosen sport means that, much to their frustration, they are unable to concentrate as much as they would like on other elements of their lifestyle.
In both celebrating and indeed questioning his affinity with hurling, Creed certainly touches a raw nerve focusing as he does on mental health challenges that he, and indeed other players, can face, while at the same time shining a light on the fragility of the sportsman hiding behind the mask.
While many hurlers and footballers, and indeed exponents of other codes, can achieve success, they often do so at the expense of finding their own true identity - and it's in this context that Creed's captivating drama certainly helps to focus the minds of those privileged to get the chance to observe it.
Hurling can turn young men into local celebrities on the pitch and in the pub, with time for little else. But now Creed tackles the challenge of how such players can find their true selves while at the same time striving to uphold peak physical fitness, a high social status and unrivalled masculine identity.
Written with sports people in mind, 'Spliced' embraces everything Creed's experience in the GAA has to offer, particularly the toll the expectations of the game took on him and what an overriding single focus does to a young mind that is still in its development stages.
Creed sends out a clear message that there can be more to life than sporting success - or at least suggests that it should be kept in context.
"This drama 'Spliced' deals with my own personal journey through the GAA and subsequent fallout from the game to pursue a career in the arts," explains Creed.
"This show is raw, doesn't hold back, and speaks to young sportsmen who might be struggling with their own mental health issues."