I’m stealing the story in today’s blog directly from Joe Brolly’s article in today’s Sunday Independent – some of you will have read it but it’s so good I wanted to share it here too.
Jim Gavin announced his retirement as Dublin Senior Gaelic Football manager yesterday after a phenomenally successful stint in charge in which his team won the All-Ireland in 6 of the 7 years of his reign.
This story has nothing to do with football though, but everything to do with kindness, leadership and man-management.
Conor Moore (aka Conor’s Sketches) is from Mullingar. A now renowned mimic, he is contracted to NBC, has filmed TV ads with Tiger Woods and is widely regarded to be at the very top of his game.
It wasn’t always like this though. His first two live comedy gigs, only three years ago, were disasters. Both took place in New York City, and the audience for the second gig included the Dublin football squad.
He was in the dressing room afterwards feeling terrible, was almost at the point where he was going to vow never to get on a stage again, when there was a knock on the door. It was Jim Gavin. In Brolly’s words this is what he said.
“Conor, I just wanted to thank you for your performance tonight. We all found it extremely funny. Very enjoyable gig. We were wondering if you would mind getting a photo with the squad when you’re ready. The players would love that,” he said.
It gave him a lift. Of course it did. He went back into the dressing room afterwards and said to himself that it might be worth one more shot. And it was.
Fast forward two years to the night Dublin won the 2018 All-Ireland. Moore and Brolly met Gavin in a pub in Dublin. He was in great form after bagging his 5th All-Ireland in relatively easy fashion.
Some of the Dublin squad were in attendance too and Moore took some of them off to huge laughter and applause. Again the next part of the story is told best by Brolly.
“You’ve come a long way Conor,” said Jim. Conor thanked him. After a few moments, he said, “Jim, do you remember the gig I did in New York a few years ago?”
“I do Conor, yeah.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Did the players really want a photo with me?” Jim paused, broke into a smile, and said “No, but I thought you needed to hear that at the time.”
Little did he know how much he needed to hear it. Although being Jim Gavin, he probably did. And then he acted on it. A class act.