I’ve been meaning to start a blog about this project for a while: I just never got round to it or convinced myself that I’d do it some other time. It’s so easy to put off till tomorrow what you know you could do today, so maybe my phone getting gubbed and having to go away to the phone doctor just gave me the breathing space to do what I should have done at the outset.
There are some good people out there and this story, indeed this whole project, is dedicated to them.
Right up there is Jas Cameron, aka Wullie Broon. Never met the bloke and all I know is that Jas wears his heart on his Celtic sleeve. Through Jas and a bunch of his Bampot mates, I have learned that there are people out there, who follow football just like me, for whom the game, the team and the season are just part of a wider life experience. For these guys, social justice is as big a part of the deal as following the team itself. I respect these guys, and I especially respect Big Jas.
I’ve been doing this project now for just shy of three months: it’s a four and a half year gig so these are still very early days. Indeed this is my winter numero uno and to be frank it scares the shit out of me that I’ve got to go through this another four times. But just over a week ago, I got a DM from Jas asking me if I’d write a wee article on what I was doing. I knew exactly what he was going to do with it, and I kind of suspected what the reaction was going to be. It was Celtic bound, for Celtic is a football club whose existence has always been the embodiment of charity. A lot of my mates just don’t get the fact that I can still support Inverness while teaming up with people of another footballing persuasion on something like LifeCycle but for me it’s a no-brainer: they get it while the rest don’t. Or to put it another way, I get what their heritage is about, even if I don’t support their team. That’s called mutual respect.
So I wrote my piece, Life Cycle (Pennies From Heaven), emailed it off, and it duly got published on The Celtic Network on 12th November 2013. In case you haven’t read it, here’s the story that Jas ran on TCN:
The reaction was inspirational if you’re me and you have to get up at 5:15 to leave the house on two wheels in the dark in lashing rain. The following comment comes word for word from Parsonbhoy (he has a proper name but I love the way football fans hide behind their pseudonyms):
“Wow! I simply can not get the hairs on the back of my neck to sit down. Wow! again. What an objective; what a compliment to Celtic fans. I love football. I love Celtic. But more and more I love the way the fans reach out to people and touch their lives. That is more of a treble year on year than any trophies. To conquer an opponent on the field is always an achievement and a glorious feeling. To capture an opponent’s heart is Godsent”.
I’m also going to say upfront that I firmly believe that our place on this planet has somehow already been mapped out and that our role is just to play out our existence as it unfolds. Let me give you an example: Jas DM’d me on the Thursday, I knocked up a blog on the Friday and he published it on the following Tuesday. That much is pretty straightforward. But then two days later, it was revealed that Vanessa Riddle is cancer free. I mean, how does that work? I came to the Neuroblastoma party quite late in the day, in the Team Oscar days as it turns out, but the trio of Vanessa, Oscar and Mackenzie were the real inspiration behind the project. So how come, two days after Jas runs the story, Vanessa gets the all clear? I mean that’s gotta be some sort of a miracle. I claim absolutely no credit for any of it but what I would say is this: Celtic fans played a big part in saving Vanessa Riddle’s life and somewhere in the great megascript of life, the great God of Coincidence decided to run the two things side by side within a couple of days of each other. And one thing’s for sure: it makes my task a whole lot easier to have Vanessa Riddle alive and well as a shining example of what can be achieved.
So for Vanessa, Oscar and Mackenzie, this one’s for you. And for Jas and all the Celtic Bampots who got me off my backside to get this thing off the ground.