I paid a long overdue visit to my older brother last week, the doyen of Scottish sport journalism, as I like to call him, or, Mr Grumpy, alias Victor Meldrew, as his wife, children and grandchildren like to call him, affectionately of course, I hasten to add. It was good to have a catch up on him and on all his family. His youngest daughter, my youngest niece, married with two young children, has just embarked on her third career change. Having started her working life as a nurse, during which she became involved in the HCPT pilgrimages to Lourdes; she then spent a number of years as a flight attendant, or air hostess, as it used to be called. Latterly, she decided to train as a primary school teacher and, having now qualified, she has only just begun her first posting with a Primary 3 class in a local Catholic school. She finds it challenging, but so far, so good. She has a wonderful way with children, so I think she will blossom in the role as time goes by. His other daughter is also a teacher, specialising in autism, having 2 autistic children of her own, although both of them are young adults now. She and her husband are heroes of mine, models of selflessness, sacrifice and dedication. With the help of her father, and his sporting contacts, my neice has also raised extensive funds for autism over the years. However, I discovered during my visit that there is another fundraising effort going on at present, for a different cause. One of my brother’s colleagues in Radio Clyde has a 4-year-old son who has a very serious condition called Neuroblastoma, and they are helping to raise funds for the necessary treatment for both that child, and his little 4-year-old friend, who has the same condition, and who is going through treatment at the same time. So, there is an event soon called “A Pie, a Pint and a Pundit” at the Albion Social Club in Yoker which I hope will raise good funds for a very worthwhile cause. It’s just part of a much bigger fundraising effort, but they are very happy to play their part. I have those two children now firmly on my prayer list.
Not to be outdone, I discovered that, the day after my visit, my brother’s son, the oldest of the three, was travelling up from Brighton, where he now lives with his partner and two children, to take part in a sponsored climb up Ben Lomond to raise funds for the same cause. He has followed his father into journalism, covering a little bit of sport, but a lot of more wide-ranging stuff as well. While his young son is Celtic daft, he is also in the Brighton and Hove Albion Academy, which must be very exciting at present, given how well Brighton are going in the Premiership, and how good is the football they are playing. Could a Keevins play for Celtic someday? We can only dream. As children growing up, my older brother was my protector when we travelled to home games on the tram from Partick to Parkhead. After leaving school he was determined to go into sports journalism, but it wasn’t easy at the time. However, after a short period as a civil servant, working in the local labour exchange, or the “buroo” as it was more often referred to, he finally made the breakthrough with D.C. Thomson and the journey began from there, both in newspapers and on radio, and not just football, but tennis and boxing as well. He was blessed to have a few trips to Wimbledon back in the day but, while he doesn’t cover tennis any more, he still has an abiding interest in covering the boxing world. He has now spent more than 50 years in the profession and has many a tale to tell. They are a good family, very close, and very supportive of each other.
Out at Bishopbriggs the focus is more on rugby than on football at present, thanks to Father Gareth’s abiding passion for rugby, and the rugby world cup currently taking place in France. There was great rejoicing in the house this week when Wales hammered Australia. There was rejoicing also that Scotland beat Tonga, but that joy is tempered by the fact that Scotland are unlikely to qualify from a group that contains the world’s number one team, Ireland, and the present world champions, South Africa. Still, you never know!
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.