Tàmailteach nach deach sgeulachd cheart na h-iomain innse, le Murray MacLeòid

Mar chuideigin a tha a’ creidsinn gu mòr ann am pàirt a ghabhail ann an spòrs, gach cuid bho thaobh slàinte agus ann an a bhith a' toirt daoine ri chèile, bha mi a’ coimhead air adhart gu mòr ris a' phrògram an t-seachdain-sa air iomain, “Giving It Stick”.

[English-language version below]

Uill, abair tàmailt. Chan eil càil a dh’fhios agam-sa dè bha a’ dol tro inntinnean nan daoine a rinn am prògram, ach abair cothrom a chailleadh airson solas ceart a chur air nì cudromach ann an cultar na Gàidhealtachd.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bha rudan ann a bha glè mhath,mar a bhith a’ sealltainn mar a tha na sgiobaidhean aig cridhe nan coimhearsnachd agus cho mòr ‘s a tha na daoine an sàs sa gheam a’ cur a-steach ann, ach bha cus dheth dìreach na nàire.

Cha chuireadh tu càil a dh’umhail air daoine ged a dh'fhàgadh prògram na mollachd a bha seo iad leis an fhaireachdainn nach robh an sàs ann an iomain ach daoine làn bòstaidh le droch chainnt agus a’ gabhail an deoch.

Bha am prògram fada cus a’ taisbeanadh dhuinn an seòrsa cainnt a gheibhear anns na seòmraichean sgeadachaidh dìreach mus gabh na cluicheadairean a' phàirc, nuair a tha iad aig àrd an spionnaidh, agus an òl a bhios a’ dol air adhart às dèidh nan geamaichean.

Tha fhios g’ eil e a’ dol air adhart, chan eil adhbhar fhalach, ach bha e nàireil gun robh an uimhir dheth ann am prògram a bha còir sgeulachd innse mu sheann gheam' na Gàidhealtachd agus mar a tha e fhathast a’ soirbheachadh. Mar gun toireadh thu a’ chreid' ‘s gur e rannsachadh domhainn ann am modhan dhaoine a tha ann an “Love Island”, seach am brath a ghabhail air daoine.

Nam b’ e companaidh à Lunnainn gun dragh mu dheidhinn na Gàidhealtachd a rinn seo, ghabhadh a thuigs'; ged a bhiodh e fhathast ceàrr. Ach, bha e gun chogais seo a chur air an t-seanal a tha còir an sealladh as fheàrr a thoirt air cultur na h-Alba.

Tha sgeulachd air leth timcheall iomain ri innse, ach gu mì-fhortanach bha am prògram “Giving It Stick” far an targaid. (Dealbh: BBC Scotland)

Tha mi a’ creidsinn ‘s gun canadh iad gun robh iad airson sealltainn gach nì as aonais sìoltachan sam bith. Ach, chan eil ann a sin ach sgudal.

Ma tha thu a’ dol a dh’fheuchainn (ann an uair a thìde) ri sgeulachd a’ gheama innse, an strì eadar an dà sgioba as iomraichte agus na coimhearsnachdan mun timcheall, tha thu feumach tòrr smuain air dè thaghas tu airson a shealltainn.

An àite sin, ‘s ann a tha coltas gur e an aon stiùireadh a bha ann an seo: “Tha sinn ag iarraidh barrachd droch chainnt agus daoine air an daorach.” Abair snog!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chan eil càil a dh’fhios agam-sa dè am beachd a th’ aig muinntir Bhaile Ùr an t-Slèibh agus Cheann a’ Ghiùsaich air a’ phrògram, ach cha b’ e an sealladh a b' fheàrr a thug e orra, no air a’ Ghàidhealtachd san fharsaingeachd.

Tha fios a’m gu bheil miann aig Comann na Camanachd cur às do rudan a tha ann an cunnart droch ìomhaigh adhbhrachadh

Dh’fhaodadh cuid dhe na bha a’ gabhail pàirt a bhith na bu fhaiceallaiche mun chainnt agus càite an robh cead aig a’ chamara a bhith, ach cha robh annta ach fireannaich òga (sa mhòr chuid) a’ dèanamh an rud a bhios iad a’ dèanamh.

Tha sgeulachd air leth timcheall iomain ri innse: an eachdraidh, mar a tha e a’ snìomh na Gàidhealtachd, mar a tha e air soirbheachadh a dh’aindeoin gach nì, agus mar a tha e aig cridhe iomadach coimhearsnachd – mus fiù ‘s suath thu ann an cho cudromach ‘s a tha spòrs san t-saoghal fharsaing.

Ach, bha seo fada far na targaid; na mhasladh. Ma tha duine cionntach dha bhith a’ toirt droch ìomhaigh dhan gheàm, ‘s e BBC Scotland.

English-language version

As someone who firmly believes in the benefits of sporting participation, both in terms of bringing people together and for the obvious impacts on health, I awaited the shinty documentary, “Giving It Stick”, on BBC Scotland, with keen anticipation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Well, what a bitter disappointment. I’ve no idea what motivated those behind the programme, or indeed its executives, but it was a missed opportunity – a golden chance to shine a light on an aspect of Scottish and Highland culture shunned to exploit the lowest common denominator.

While there were some elements to admire, such as showing the sense of community around the teams and the dedication of those involved in the game, it was too often cringe-inducing.

Anyone would have been forgiven for taking away the message that shinty is only inhabited by drunken, foul-mouthed, bravado Highlanders, such was the degree that the programme chose to focus on the late-night after-game socialising and the colourful language that fills the adrenaline-filled changing rooms of young men.

Of course it goes on, there is little point in pretending otherwise, but to have so much of it dominate a programme which was trailed as a piece of work to showcase the ancient game, still thriving in some parts of the Highlands, was unforgivable. A bit like pretending Love Island is a work of deep anthropological research, when it’s nothing but pure exploitation.

Had this been done by a London-based production company for Channel Five, or some low-brow entity, it would have been somewhat understandable, if still disappointing. But for the broadcast medium that’s supposed to best reflect Scottish society to be responsible for this only reflects badly on themselves. I doubt they’ll care much and probably hide behind some guff that it was a “warts-and-all” approach, which is plain nonsense.

An hour to tell the story of an ancient game, the village rivalry between two of its greatest exponents (Newtonmore and Kingussie), and the communities in which they’re based, was going to require careful storytelling and selective editing. Instead, it seems the instruction all along was just: “We need more swearing and drunk people.” Nice. Maybe it passes as entertainment in Pacific Quay.

I have no idea what the good people of Newtonmore and Kingussie thought of the programme – maybe they just enjoyed their moment in the limelight – but it did not portray them, the game or the Highlands in the best light. I know there is a determination within the Camanachd Association, the game’s ruling body, to promote good behaviour and to clamp down on anything that brings “the game into disrepute”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some of the individuals could indeed have been a bit more self-aware when the camera was around and selective as to when they could be filmed, but they’re only young men (mostly) going about their daily activities.

There is a fantastic story to tell about shinty: its history, how it weaves the Highlands together, how it has managed to survive against the odds, and even resurface in some areas, and how it is often the beating heart of communities, like Newtonmore and Kingussie – before even getting into the wider importance of sport in society. Plenty of proper substance to get your teeth into, in other words, without having to resort to cheap television.

Unfortunately this was so far off the mark as to be demeaning. If anyone is guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, it’s BBC Scotland.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.