In the summer of 2004, I had the height of craic working on the construction of the Cross City tunnel in Sydney with a gang of utter misfits from across Ireland.
Our workshy attitudes jarred with the macho Aussies who prided themselves on achieving more work than the crew that had just come off nightshift. Our main concern was knocking fun out of the day and getting to 5pm when we could sign our sheets and get home.
For example, the portaloo doors opened outwards. It was the habit of some of us to sneak into these loos for a sneaky smoke. If this was spotted however, a digger could roll over and the bucket placed half an inch from the toilet door. You could find yourself locked in there for an hour with the Australian sun baking your plastic prison. None of us needed Weight Watchers.
Some of the Aussies were strange cases. Fully grown men raving about Monster Truck shows. They would be gently encouraged, all their 'Strewths' and 'It was a ripper!' being stored in the hard drive later for dissection. We didn't even have to do any mining, employed at the surface work in shorts and t-shirts, not in the darkness of the tunnel.
The fun stopped on July 29. Ronnie Shores, a father of two from the New Zealand north island town of Waihi, was working on a ventilation shaft, drilling a hole from under unsupported roofing. A slab fell, killing him instantly, 40 metres below Yurong Street.
As they brought his body to the surface at midnight, his fellow Maori workers gathered for a Maori cleansing ceremony for his spirit.
For months before, rocks up to a metre long had been falling in the tunnel. One knocked another employee unconscious. But the lucrative bonus scheme meant that safety concerns, raised even a fortnight previously by Ronnie Shores, were disregarded.
The site was shut down instantly. The Construction Union was incensed at the employers. There was a stirring rally. For weeks afterwards, the routine was similar; travel into Sydney, sign in for your day's work. Sit in the tea hut reading while safety experts combed every inch of the tunnelling, before being sent home at lunchtime.
It taught me the importance of a union, how they are there to look after your health. Nothing could be more important than working in a safe environment.
That extends to the Gaelic Players Association. This group gets up the noses of a lot of GAA commentators and are often an easy dog to kick. But they have a role. The problem is, they have forgotten their primary role, which is to protect the health and wellbeing of their members.
When the GAA outlined their return to play, they pinpointed September 14 as the date intercounty squads would return to training.
The GPA have told the GAA that they want all intercounty training sessions prior to September 14 to be covered by the Association's Injury Fund.
Just go over that again carefully. The GAA say county teams can go back on September 14. The GPA want insurance before that. Because the GPA know through their members that county teams are training away already. In truth, some never stopped.
Not all teams in Ulster are breaking the rules. Some are.
One team are camped up in a secluded corner of their county training on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Clubs have been told not to arrange challenge matches on Saturdays and if they have them on a Sunday, then county players are only allowed 20 minutes on the pitch.
When some clubs returned to training last Thursday night, their county players came in half-bent from the previous night's illicit exertions, clearly not fit to take part.
They have it all sussed out though. Should a player get injured in the county sessions, they have been told to claim through their club's insurance scheme.
In this environment, players have been forced to double-up with club and county after a prolonged period of inactivity.
When the Bundesliga soccer clubs resumed games, they experienced a spike in injuries from 0.27 per game to 0.88 in the first week of league fixtures.
That is from a professional sport where players are benefitting from sports science and technology. And have 90% of their day to devote to recovery.
Amateur players do not have that. What these short-sighted managers do not foresee is the inevitable flood of injuries once club games start. So the players took their concerns to their union.
And what happened? Their Union - the GPA - created a new problem, one of insurance, and tossed it into the lap of the GAA.
Let's not forget something in all of this. We are in the grip of a pandemic. Quite apart from the risk of over-use injuries at training, players are exposing themselves to the risk of coronavirus.
This was a test of the GPA. With their members' health in the balance, they could have stood up to county management demands. They could have organised a great lock-out and would have had the sympathy of the wider GAA public.
But, they caved. They went for self-preservation and indulging in a cheap blame game. They were facilitated in this by the GAA who are still bound by a nod-and-wink culture and refuse to impose a sanction on counties that break the training embargo.
Instead the GPA did what they always do. They conducted a survey. The GPA have more surveys than Family Fortunes.
And just like Family Fortunes, nobody takes them seriously.