Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hands up if you’ve heard of Robin Gibb?

No, he’s not a rugby player. He’s a Bee Gee.

Robin could never be mistaken for a rugby player. He must have ingested some fairly serious stuff in the sixties because these days he’s a shell of a man who’d struggle to tip the scales at 50kg wringing wet in his neat double-breasted pin-striped suit.

I went to Wellington on Wednesday to see Robin Gibb and the Pointer Sisters in concert, which brings me to the point of this column!

While the nearly-61 year old Robin battled manfully with some of the early Bee Gees’ classics such as Massachusetts, New York Mining Disaster 1941 and Words, he looked and sounded like an old man with a bad hairpiece on some of the hits from the disco era and beyond.

I couldn’t help but see a bit of myself in Robin as he butchered You Should Be Dancing and You Win Again. Admittedly I’m giving Robin a ten year start, have a full head of my own hair and left 50 kg behind 40 years ago. But as I watched a man I once greatly admired, I couldn’t help but feel Robin had hung on for too long. Father Time had caught up on him.

Life’s all about timing.

I feel a bit like that about my rugby commentary career. Lee Piper and I started out as young bucks taking on the world and the establishment in 1995. We were blatantly different, over-the-top and not everyone liked it. Only Paul Henderson and Mark Seymour from the Southland side of the day could really be bothered with us.

Eventually we outlasted the players and our critics, became accepted and carved ourselves a niche. We’re now very much part of the establishment. Like an old pair of slippers we slip into the commentary box but gone are the days of the child-like screams of “missy, missy, chocolate fishy” when a Flash Harry Carlos Spencer is having a kick at goal.

We celebrated calling 200 first class games in the Otago Ranfurly Shield Challenge and at the Stags’ end-of-season prizegiving were presented with a wonderful caricature cartoon from Southland Times cartoonist Shaun Yeo. It’s going straight to the pool room.

My last game in the commentary box was the epic final Ranfurly Shield defense against Canterbury. Maybe not a bad way to sign off? Timing is everything.


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