I suffered a serious burn last week, which required Sudocrem, bandages and resting up gingerly for the rest of the day.
I was watching Celtic play Hibernian when the promising 18-year-old Armstrong Oko-Flex was preparing to come on as a substitute for his debut in professional football for the Hoops. He was wearing AirPods in his ears, and only took them out just prior to running on.
Now, it's highly likely he was communicating with Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who was self-isolating at the time. But it was an arresting image and I told a friend I might write a column on the art of being a substitute in Gaelic games.
"There's an old saying in writing; 'Write what you know'," was his reply. Oh boy. That stung.
I've sat on the odd bench myself. It teaches you humility, the most important characteristic of someone who is acquainted with 'riding the pine'.
One manager of a neighbouring club once told me how he was in charge of his home club. Let's call him 'Bert' - not his real name. He brought in an outside man ('Ernie', to protect his real identity) to be his coach and selector.
Once, during a tight game, they had wandered up the line away from the dugout. Bert asked Ernie to have a look at the bench and see who might change the game for them.
Ernie ambled back towards the bench, staring hard at each of their faces. Bert was still 30 yards away when Ernie started calling his name, and he already knew that the request was a huge mistake. Ernie wasn't famous for his tact.
"Bert! Bert! Bert!" Ernie called. "Bert! Bert! Bert!" he roared.
Bert wanted the ground to swallow him up but, once he lifted his head and met Ernie's gaze, the message came at the top of his voice in front of the home crowd. He summed up the bench as "useless, no good to us!"
For those floating around the fringes of a team, the cruelty begins in the dressing room. Usually, the team is named just before a game.
You listen for your name to be called out and the jersey to be tossed in your direction. Any number on the back above 15 is an instant blow.
Even at the top end of the game, substitutes are subject to the same cruelty, the tyranny of not making the cut.
Here's a staggering story for you. Enda McNulty, the integral part of Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland win, wasn't picked to start a single game for the last three years of his career.
Furthermore, he didn't even get on as a sub. Not once. The last three years of his long career and he didn't get a single minute within the white lines.
"Though I wasn't getting picked, I still used to warm up six or seven times during a game," he stated in his book, Commit!.
"I knew I was in the best shape of my life and I used to think that by running past the coach, showing the crowd the shape I was in, someone would say, 'Maybe it's time to put Enda in'."
One day he was going through this routine during a league match when he heard a familiar voice calling from the crowd: "Enda! Enda! What are you at?"
It was his retired former team-mate, Tony McEntee.
He followed up with: "Enda, you're making a joke of yourself. You should be out here with me. It's over."
Any sub has my complete sympathy. There is something in the pit of the stomach that goes altogether after the warm-up is completed and the substitutes begin their trudge off the field, leaving the starters to their final huddle.
That's when the mental contortions begin.
That's when you plan on when to do your warm-up in full view of the coach. You might even have made a show of helping to cart equipment or water out to the pitch or over to the dugout, just to show your attitude is good and you are not a drain on the group's energy. It's either that or the sullen teenager approach where you bury your head into the tracksuit top, arms folded in an epic sulk.
Either way, your dirty little secret is that you are willing every player on the team to have a stinker - until you are put on. It's all 'team, team, team' until you are left out. Fact.
Getting taken off is even tougher. The worst way is getting the 'curly finger' at half-time, standing there like a statue while the manager gees up your replacement. Or when he takes in a 16th player for the half-time talk and everyone is gripped by insecurity.
Some will head immediately for the shower, knowing their race is run and they might as well get washed and watch the second half in comfort.
But the stain of doing so might never wash off this particular player.
There are no more resilient people in sport than the perennial sub in GAA. They are a lesson in patience, stoicism and the power of positive thinking. In their own mind, they tell themselves the manager wants the best team on the pitch at the end.
And if you were to ask them if they were sub, they would look at you as if you had sprouted a new head alongside the old one.
"Oh no, not at all," they would correct. "I'm an impact sub."
So, with everything in limbo, what's the big story in GAA?
Sure, there are enough pieces and news items filtering through: players looking forward to playing again when things are a bit easier and the country can move freely, managers stating they feel the competitions can be run off and pointing out how well the protocols were obeyed in 2020, a county final or two aside, and county teams breaking training bans in a pandemic is a juicy one for sure.
I mean, as GAA head of games administration Feargal McGill rightly pointed out: “If people can’t follow these guidelines about limiting activities in the face of a pandemic in order to protect their own players and communities, it shows the difficulties we can expect in securing compliance in a normal year.”
And even after all that, there are still anecdotes of club teams conducting clandestine sessions in secret locations. The latest one that came this way was of a club using school facilities over a recent weekend.
But above all that remains the question regarding trying to host inter-county leagues and Championships. Who is going to pay for all of this?
Miceál Briody, chairman of the Club Players’ Association, stated: “There are obviously some financial problems coming, and there doesn’t seem to be another €15m coming from the government.
“My own view on it is yes, there will be a funding gap, but the Association is very strong overall. It has a number of very significant assets and can borrow against them. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation, and the Association should borrow.”
Such financial risk would fly in the face of the track record of the GAA who, by and large, have tried to stay within the lines, their fiscal planning occasionally torpedoed by county boards getting themselves into difficulty with capital projects.
Without an injection of government money, are we looking at the leagues being scrapped entirely? Perhaps.