Saturday, 31 October 2015

What is a man?

People in Ireland with medium-term memories will recall the name Michael Cheika as the rugby coach who brought Leinster, the rugby team, to victory in the Heineken Cup in 2009. The trophy is now the European Rugby Champions Cup which explains more accurately that it is an elite championship for local clubs in the Six Nations. Weirdly IMO, the Irish field province-wide teams Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, Munster while other countries put out city teams like Newport Dragons or Glasgow Warriors. Is it that there isn't enough ooomph in Irish club teams like Blackrock or Old Wesley? The father of the nation √Čamon de Valera was a lifelong rugger fan having played it in Blackrock College [but note that the real Blackrock College claims him] when he was young and fit - it caused some inconvenience with the Gaelic Athletics Association GAA who were and are a political, as well a keep-fit, movement.

Dove, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, is trying to move out of the soap-is-for-girls niche and sell more of their product to the other 50% of humanity. They've started to interview Real Men and so get their logo out in association with blokes. That's an interesting marketing ploy and is probably working, not least because some of their interviews are gaining traction on youtube. Here, for example, is an interview with rugger coach Michael Cheika which is worth 40 minutes of your time if a) if you are a bloke with kids b) you have never used soap c) you like rugger but not the image d) you've bought the whole package: hard-chaw, pints of beer and fry-ups for breakfast every day. Cheika talks about
  • building a team with different shaped bricks
  • being okay about losing
  • in contrast to divorce, world peace and Ebola; it's just a game
  • but one which brings 50,000 people together in one place with a common purpose that isn't war
  • real men being Who They Are not what someone else wants them to be
  • there are many ways of being a brick
  • the importance of kindness
  • running up a hill with a smile on your face . . . or else
Warning, it's 45 minutes long so a schlep for the sound-byte generation but watching Cheika talk about training is waaay easier than running up a hill with a smile on your face.

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