Funny the places where sport seeps into, the surprises you can get, writes Michael Moynihan.
A few weeks before Christmas yours truly needed something special present-wise and eventually settled on getting a picture framed.
Thoughtful, considerate. That’s the keynote.
I headed into an old mate in Marcus Framing in Cork city centre to get the job done, but while I was there I couldn’t help but notice the framed Cork GAA jersey. The framed Cork City FC jersey. So I wondered . ..
“Jerseys getting framed are a big part of the business now,” John Kelleher of Marcus’s told me.
“They’ve come on a huge amount in the last 20 years or so, it was a big element in Britain for a long time before that, and eventually it crossed over.
“We have that Cork GAA jersey framed in the front of the shop, for instance, from 2004, so there was a big demand for those. Cork were going well in the hurling, people are looking for the jersey.”
Kelleher teased it out. Sports stars hit peaks and troughs in popularity and the business feels the ripples.
“Obviously, Roy Keane coming from Cork, there was a huge spike in jersey framing when he was with both Manchester United and Celtic. A lot of people were coming in with his name and number on jerseys.
“But it’s local, too. In the last few days, we had two Mayfield GAA jerseys coming in. They won the city, county, Munster and All-Ireland junior titles last year, which was an unforgettable experience for them, obviously. A couple of them had their jerseys and medals framed.
“It doesn’t have to be a team or an All-Ireland title either. Take marathon runners as an example - they’ll often bring in the vest they’ve run a marathon in, along with the number they were assigned, maybe the ribbon they get at the end with the location or a photograph taken just as they crossed the line. It’s a nice way to remember the achievement.
“We frame hurleys, golf clubs and gloves - golf balls, even - and boxing gloves. People have brought gear back from Las Vegas, Conor McGregor memorabilia, and we’ve framed that.
“Alongside all of that you also have the photographs, the team pictures with the players named underneath, all of that. I mentioned Mayfield — they’d want framed pictures of the team that won the All-Ireland, same for clubs in all sports who’ve won titles.
“So sport’s a big side of it, always.”
We were chatting a couple of weeks before Christmas, a time of the year when people tend to combine the need for gifts with a certain amount of reflection. That’s obvious from some of the more off-beat framing assignments.
“That’s the time of the year, people are thinking ‘what do you get the child who has everything’, and sometimes it isn’t a child either.
“So they go back to his or her first swimming medal, or first medal in whatever they did as a kid. And it goes the other way too — what do you get a grandfather, say? Maybe he has medals in a biscuit tin or a drawer in the house, so you frame them nicely and it’s a lovely present.
“Mary Geaney, for instance, had a great career in sport, she captained Kerry to the All-Ireland ladies football title in 1976 and then Cork to the camogie title in 1981.
“We’re putting her medals in a nice frame - and her brother Dave’s as well.”
It’s a long wait until next Christmas, of course. But I’m glad to be ahead of the curve for gifts in just the first week of January. You can all thank me later.
Keeping women’s sport at the top table
It was disappointing to see www.sportswomen.ie fold up the tent last week.
The website, which drew attention to women’s sport — as you might have guessed from the title — did a sterling job over the last three years but Sharon Hutchinson, the moving force behind it, said last week in a farewell address that it simply wasn’t paying its way.
Characteristically, she signed off with a positive note: “For 2018 get out there and support our female athletes, support your daughters, sisters, nieces, and friends. Get out on the sidelines and cheer them on. If you are a female get involved in your sport, become a volunteer, coach, take on a role of responsibility. There are many great men in these roles but we need more women taking on these roles and in particular those that are part of the decision-making process. Media outlets, continue to promote women’s sport through your articles, photos, coverage. As they say “if you can see it you can be it.”
Well said. And well done.
What your clothes say about you
I note a terrific article on Racked.com on Colin Kaepernick’s clothing - as in, the political significance of same.
Kaepernick is the American football star at the heart of the anthem controversy in the States and has foregrounded some uncomfortable truths for many sports fans. Racked writer Nadra Nittle made a convincing case for some of the player’s fashion choices - dashikis, afro, a decent replication of Shaft’s costume - to be interpreted as a commitment to his racial heritage.
I raise this here because the growing fashion focus among GAA players in particular hasn’t, to my knowledge, been dissected thoroughly enough for its political significance, but never fear.
Full disclosure: while writing I am in an old (and frayed) Canterbury tracksuit pants, a Boston Bruins long-sleeve t-shirt and a fleece zip-up jumper my wife refers to simply as “that”. Still, I feel confident enough to cast a cold eye on the sartorial choices and errors on young chaps considerably bigger and stronger than myself without fear or favour.
I promise to wear my Joan Rivers hat on a semi-regular basis as the season wears on.
Dancing with the stars and stripes’ great ones
A big discovery in my house over Christmas was the soundtrack of Hamilton the musical which features the likes of ‘Cabinet Battle 2’ (“And if you don’t know, now you know, Mr President,”) and ‘I Know Him’ (“President John Adams? Good luck.”).
If the prospect of a musical based on the founder of the US federal financial system sounds unappealing you’re not alone. Apparently Gore Vidal, author of the magnificent novel Burr, thought the same when Leonard Bernstein approached him about a musical set in the same period.
“I remember Gore saying to me, ‘Poor Lenny,’” Vidal biographer Jay Parini recalls. ”‘They’ll never make a Broadway musical about the Founding Fathers. I just can’t see Jefferson and Hamilton dancing across the stage.’” Gore, Gore, Gore. How wrong you were.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved