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Sat 03-Mar-2012 21:51
More from this writer..
The Squinting Eye
T'wasn't the Nuremberg Rally he was addressing...
“I thought one of them was going to get hurted.”
Good thing the TG4 cameras were turned off. Good thing nobody filmed it on their mobile. It would have gone all round the world on YouTube. Very embarrassing it would have been.
Just imagine two men of well-advanced middle age grappling for control of a microphone, while the captain of the winning team stood there uneasily, waiting for the cup to be presented to him. The unseemly tussle was watched by everyone in the stand and up to 3,000 spectators who had flooded onto the field after the match. Some cringed, some were annoyed while a few thought the episode was a huge laugh.
It had been a cracker of a game. When the referee had blown the final whistle there was an exultant cheer from the followers of the winning club. It was the first time they had won the trophy. TG4 was covering the game and conducted a brief interview with the team captain before he hurried away to lead his team up the steps towards the table where the trophy was to be presented.
The honour of presenting the cup fell to the chairman of the provincial council of the GAA. The upturned faces of the crowd looked in his direction as he stood there beside the trophy. The TG4 cameras were on him. He seemed to be exulting in his role. There was a broad smile on his face as he waited for captain to make his way up.
Then the crowd fell silent as the chairman took the microphone in his hand. Some standing nearby were puzzled when they saw him put a bundle of speech notes on the table. Then, to the surprise of many, he actually said nothing for at least twenty seconds. Instead, he looked about with an air of pleased authority, as if to savour the occasion and the mood of the crowd. The TG4 commentator felt it necessary to fill in the long silent gap with some remarks about the history of the team.
At last the chairman started off. "A chairde Gael...this is a great occasion. We can all be proud today. And it's not all about the actual game. No indeed. A tremendous amount of work goes into the organising of this game and all our games.”
He went on and on, growing more and more enthusiastic about the structure of the GAA and the amount of work that had to be done to keep all the numerous wheels turning. The producer of the
programme on TG4 had to move to deferred coverage of another game and the cameras were turned off.
Something had to break... and it did. The secretary of the winning club, who was standing behind the chairman, burst forward and tried to pull the microphone out of his hands. The chairman held it tightly and he and the secretary struggled for it. There were some cheers from the crowd. These became louder when the gasped words "Fuck"and "Bollix" were heard over the public address system.
The contest came to an end when the chairman let go of the microphone, turned about and stalked away up the concrete steps to the door at the top of the stand that led to the county board offices. A cheer went up from the waiting followers.
The secretary simply took the cup and handed it over to his winning captain. It was an awkward moment. Many in the stand had been disturbed and made ill-at-ease by what had happened. The captain, fair play to him, rose to the occasion.
“Whether it’s a battle for this cup or a battle for this microphone everyone has to give it their best shot" he said with a grin. This evoked a gale of laughter. Then he went on: "Don't worry, I won't make a long speech."When the chuckling died down he spoke briefly and led three cheers for the gallant losers.
Meanwhile the chairman sat in the boardroom with his head in his hands. Soon the secretary came and put his arm around him and apologised for what had happened. The chairman's wife came on the scene to comfort her husband.
She said: "Oh I know he went on far too long. It's just that he prepared and prepared, rehearsed and rehearsed. I couldn't keep him off the Internet, looking at famous speeches.”
The stadium manager unlocked the drinks cabinet. He served drinks all round, including a double-brandy for the chairman. The mood mellowed and lightened when they had more drink taken and they began to talk about famous speeches.
The chairman's wife said she loved to the oft-shown film of John F Kennedy speaking in New Ross. The secretary thought that Martin Luther King talking to the multitude in Washington was the best of all. But the chairman disagreed genially with them.
“Ah Jasus it's very hard to beat The Quare Fellow speechifying to the tens of thousands in serried ranks carrying banners at the great rally in the stadium in Nuremburg." There was momentary puzzlement until he explained that he was referring to Adolf Hitler.
After some more drinks the chairman said: "Look. I know everyone's gone home but I'd still like to make my speech."
“Why not?," the others said in chorus and they all made their unsteady way down the steps to the podium. The stadium manager switched on the microphone and said: "Away you go.”
The chairman looked down at his notes and for twenty seconds or so looked around the deserted stadium, as if it were full of expectant listeners. Then be began, "A chairde Gael..." His voice echoed round the empty stand. He went through his speech. It took about ten or twelve minutes. When he had finished the other three gave him a clap and a cheer.
That was not quite the end of it. Next day the print media mentioned the public row in the match reports. The chairman was hurt by a comment that the speeches of those presenting cups should not be used as a platform for public oratory.
"Next time I make a presentation speech it will go into the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest ever heard," he growled.
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