Monthly Archives: August 2014

Robin, I’m not quite sure what we do without you.

Like most of you, I woke up this morning and was all set to go about my usual routine of making myself look presentable for work. A bit sleepy but not feeling particularly grouchy. Then I glanced at my Twitter feed and immediately wished that I hadn’t.

The death of Robin Williams is one of those popular culture news stories that seems to have triggered an emotional reaction in everyone – fans, journalists and his contemporaries alike. It cast a long dark shadow over my whole day that I’m almost at a loss to shake off.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because I ever met the man or studiously watched every film in his back catalogue. I’m just a big, big Robin Williams fan, no more or less than any of my friends. But the reason I think that this morning’s news intruded upon me so much is that it is all bound up in how I would cheer myself up.

I’m the sort of person who considers certain books, songs and films as being tantamount to a great, big snuggly hug accompanied by a cup of tea and a chocolate caramel digestive. No matter how rubbish the day, just hearing that certain opening chord or re-reading a well worn favourite can cure a multitude.

Today I realised that a lot of the film ‘hugs’ that I seek out when feeling a bit blue featured… Robin Williams. Maybe they won’t lose their warm-fuzzy- feeling after his passing but I know this Christmas will be filled with a heightened poignancy as we all watch festive staples Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook and Jumanji with a new eye.

The feeling that the audience was left with at the end of Mrs. Doubtfire is tantamount to the fantastic life that he was able to breathe into each character. Even though we were all in on the act from the beginning, you still felt a dragging disappointment when Euphegenia’s mask fell away (post-Pierce Brosnan heimlich) and you knew she wouldn’t be visiting the Hillard’s anymore. We were all as gutted as Lydia, Chris and Natalie were – he was that good.

Adrian Cronauer, John Keating, Peter Pan, Genie, Daniel Hillard, Mrs Doubtfire, Alan Parrish, Sean Maguire – thank you for making me laugh and cry in equal measure.

The Genie was right, Robin – we ain’t never had a friend like you.

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Oh for ruck’s sake….

Brace yourselves, I’ve just seen the sorry excuse for a ‘women in rugby’ feature in today’s Sunday Independent (Irish Sunday ‘broadsheet’) and you know what that means…rant time!

In a week where Ireland’s women’s rugby team deservedly took over the front pages as well as the back pages of the newspapers, one might have expected a half decent attempt at a feature article. In the days after Fiona Coghlan, Niamh Briggs and their tough-as-nails teammates unceremoniously dumped the mighty Black Ferns from their ‘undefeated at a World Cup’ pedestal, there might have been incentive to focus on the enormity of the feat. When you consider that the New Zealand women’s team have one of the best win percentages in the women’s game and access to the same impeccable facilities and backroom support that their male counterparts do, then it puts what our team (formed from a senior player pool of just under 3700 women) achieved this week into mighty perspective.

But the most widely read Irish paper couldn’t focus on resources, grassroots development or female involvement at provincial level. Or even delve into the effect that the Irish 2013 Grand Slam win had on the numbers of girls and women taking an interest in the game. Nope.

Instead the women’s game was reduced to a cheap, tacky ‘Fifty Rucks of Grey’-style innuendo fest. Lowest common denominator journalism. To add insult to injury, the paper sent someone along who hadn’t even a basic grasp of the rules. I’m not saying they had to send someone who plays tag or sevens or full contract rugby but would a vague notion of what a lineout or a scrum entailed have been too much to ask? Obviously it was.

By reducing an entire sport to a couple of hundred words of lewd musings that could be set to the Benny Hill theme tune, the women who play the game at any level in Ireland have been done a massive disservice. Nice one, Irish Indo. Well done.