Thursday, 4 June 2009

It’s an old cliché, I know, but you should never judge a book by its cover. I can think of several sporting examples of yours truly being guilty of just that.

All Black Adam Thomson’s acquittal on the assault of his girlfriend is a good example. Late last year, when the allegations were made, I wrongfully assumed his guilt. An acquaintance of mine, who played a considerable role in Thomson’s development, admonished me for having such thoughts. Thomson, he declared, was not only an outstanding athlete and rugby player, he was an outstanding young man of irrefutable character.

I feel bad about slagging him off now. Sorry about that Adam!

A broadcasting competitor, Richard Loe, is another who springs to mind. I had played some age-grade rugby against him when he was a man amongst boys but other than that my impression of him was formed by what I had gleaned from television watching him crush Paul Carozza’s nose and eye-gouge Greg Cooper.

Yet, off the field, Loe is a very intelligent, engaging and charismatic character despite what you might think of his on-the-field antics.

I feel bad about slagging him off now. Sorry about that Richard!

I once recall, with the blissful ignorance of relative youth, referring to John Hart on radio as a “divisive little snipe”. Last year I met him in his professional capacity and a more charming and personable man you would not meet.

I feel bad about slagging him off now. Sorry about that John!

This week I had the good fortune to interview a current All Black I genuinely admire and would never think of slagging off.

Admiration is largely the domain of the young. Most of my All Black idols (Colin Meads, Brian Lochore, Ian Kirkpatrick and Earle Kirton) belong to a bygone era. There’s something slightly sad about admiring someone nearly young enough to be your son, but with Richie McCaw I’ve made an exception.

The injured All Blacks captain is man of mana, the modern-day equivalent of a Sir Wilson Whineray or a Sir Brian Lochore. His knighthood could come as early as the New Year’s Honours List of 2012 if he brings home the World Cup bacon in 2011.

What’s more McCaw told me he listened to the Farming Show on Radio Sport.
I feel good about not slagging him off now. Thanks for that Richie!


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