I am a big boxing fan and an even bigger fan of Irish newspaper writers.
One of the main topics of pub conversation, at the moment, is the departure of Billy Walsh, the Irish boxing team’s head coach and more specifically, Katie Taylor’s coach. Katie is the reigning Olympic women’s boxing champion and a prominent figure in Irish sport.
Billy is coming to America to coach our women’s boxing team in the next Olympics. Once again, Irish talent comes our way looking for the “big bucks”.
Eamonn Sweeney, in his Sunday Independent column, Hold the Back Page, writes in “No one does outrage quite like us“… I will expose you to just a “bit” of the column and I think you’ll begin to understand why I am partial to Irish newspaper writers…
He writes…So I hope Billy Walsh makes a huge success of this new job, that the US women’s boxing team win many Olympic medals, that he gets to run the men’s programme (sometimes they spell words differently than we do) as well, that he becomes an expert skier on the slopes of Colorado, makes the cover of Sports Illustrated and becomes such a ubiquitous figure in American sporting culture that Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon make affectionate jokes about him in their start-of-show monologues.
Now here it comes …
However, I’m not prepared to go along with the portrayal of Billy Walsh as a tragic figure. In some quarters the story’s been written like the equivalent of some 19th century melodrama which ends with an innocent young maiden dying in the workhouse after being ruined by some priapic aristocrat. In reality it’s been more like one of those Dickensian tales where our hero endures the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune but comes through them all and falls in for a fortune which gives him the last laugh over his tormentors.
In fact, some of the more mournful commentary has reminded me of the observation make by Herman J. Mankiewicz, the great screenwriter of Citizen Kane, after seeing one of those plays about the soul-destroying effect of success. “Here’s this wealthy playwright who has repeated successes and has earned enormous sums of money, has mistresses as well as a family, an expensive townhouse, a luxurious beach house and a yacht. The problem is. how did the son of a bitch get into this jam?”
It goes on but I think you get the drift and…
I hope you see the brilliance in his writing as I do, and remember the column is about boxing…and I only had to look up the meaning of 5 words in the entire column.
Welcome to America Billy Walsh.