How Harry O’Brien unwittingly showed a few sports presenters up for being uneducated and lacking in class

Harry O'Brien.

When 26 year old Collingwood star Harry O’Brien made his comments the other week about ‘going through a tough time at the moment’, and whilst leaving training he politely requested reporters to have sensitivity to him, he came as quite a shock to most of us.

It wasn’t the sort of honest and thoughtful delivery to come out of a football players’ mouth when it comes to these kinds of matters, before they’ve done something horrendous as a result.   But then Harry O’Brien has always been cut from a different cloth and sadly I suspect he has a lot of the world around him not having a clue on how to take him, therefore feeling the need to articulate what’s going on in his head.

“I’m going through a history … of things for a long time, including a long and very complicated history of sexual abuse, suicide, depression, seeing someone get murdered, knowing who murdered that person and not being able to say anything, knowing that person will probably murder you.”

But this does not mean that he has let the club down by playing badly leading up to this time.  It also does not necessarily mean that clashing with Nathan Buckley means that Harry just happens to be touchy either.

What I noticed from the ensuing sports reporters, especially those on the TV news, was that there was those that told the story with a genuine air of concern in their delivery and tone, and then there were those that although containing their glee of having a nice little juicy story to gee up the ratings with, used the dismissive word rant to describe Harry’s honest admissions.

Now it may just be a word, but sometimes just one word can speak volumes of what the person using it is really trying to say.  Or may not be officially allowed to say, or might simply be too gutless to say.  But I’ll pop my worldly goods on the fact that they know exactly what they are saying nonetheless.

The word rant by definition is often linked to someone speaking in an angry, loud, bombastic or even violent way.  How would this then relate to Harry O’Brien can you tell me?

It’s been used in the media to describe terrorist speeches, dictators such as Hitler addressing a crowd, or even neo Nazi’s spewing forth their white supremacy beliefs, but rarely a gentle natured man requesting some breathing space so he can do his job temporarily without the intrusion of any media prodding.

I’m suspicious I have to say that Nathan Buckley has “removed the burden of leadership” from Harry and is resting him again as they did last weekend.  Sure, if there were an inability to cope with your job there would be a case to give him time off.  I would really hope this was genuinely done in conjunction with Harrys’ desires, as the one thing that I know is that fresh air and exercise can be a great benefit for a person suffering from certain kinds of depression.

Again, perhaps Harry doesn’t need the extra group time and energy of being on the club’s leadership board just now, but again I hope that wasn’t a decision made for him as taking away one of the positive things in someone’s life that gives them a feeling of esteem and worthiness is not something to take away as one is possibly crumbling inside.

I know it’s wishful thinking to hope that all those around Harry O’Brien and those that are following his story would choose to see him as a brave and sensitive type of man, rather than one who likes a random rant.

It’s so weak as a journalist or anyone discussing Harry O’Brien to say he went on a rant.  A rant in regards to football is dialogue more styled at an umpire who made a bad decision according to a player.  Or what comes out of their mouth after a binge drinking session because that’s how they chose to deal with their demons.






I know it’s not completely right but I find it really cute, and sort of funny to see men squirm in certain zones they believe are strictly for the girls!

A million years ago, while working at Sportsgirl,  I noticed the way guys would come into the store with their girlfriends and sort of carry on like it was there first day at kindy.

As their partners headed into the change rooms, trying to make eye contact with the boys to actually try and make them comfortable was a bit like trying to get Julian Assange on a plane to Sweden.

I men, did they think I was going to shout, “Get out you disgusting perve!  No we don’t realise your partner is in the change room, we think you’re just here”?

After this weekend however, my blokey squirm spotting hobby got taken to a whole new level, whilst at a conference called I CAN DO IT, hosted by Hay House publishing.

Hay House publishing is home of some of the best selling authors in the world, although because they are often grouped under the banner of ‘self help’, a genre title in need of a serious make-over, it tends to make a lot of blokes, run for the hills.

Not to say there were no men at this conference, there were.  There were the ones who are evolved enough to understand the benefits to opening themselves up to a bit of life wisdom, although even some of these were noticably slunk down in their seats.

Or those there to support their partners because they’ve either arrived in a symbolic head lock, or they can’t deny the improvement in those they love from whatever is being said.

The thing is,  I cannot wait for the day when more blokes work out these things are not just for women and stop feeling like they’re in that dream where you suddenly work out you’re out you’re in public, totally nude.

I never thought I’d say this, but ‘guys, you’re over thinking it.’

Absolutely classic case of this was in one of the lunchtime breaks.  I got chatting to a really fun girl about the previous speakers, and for the record, we were having a good old laugh at whatever it was, when I noticed her partner doing the old squirm routine.  Trying to break the ice and include him, I said in a way that could be taken whichever way he pleased, I said “So are you having a great day?”

Reacting as if I’d somehow let him off some sort of hook by possibly implying it might be tough for him being there, he rolled his eyes and said “the problem is, she seems to think when I’m at home and I’m not speaking, there’s something wrong.  Most of the time there’s not, I’m literally thinking about nothing.”

At the ripe old age of 42 as I am now, I will say I believe this man state of occasional ‘nothing’ is a serious bloody gift.

Loosening up he shared that the worst imaginable thing had happened when leaving the auditorium for the first break he locked eyes with someone that left him a momentarily paralysed. His Regional Branch Manager was also there.

“Oh my god, how terrifying!” I laughed. “So this guy has been secretly empowering himself and maybe even trying to do it to you? Thank goodness, you found out before it was too late.”

Seriously the way he described it, sounded like he’d been busted coming out of a gay sauna.

There was a collective sigh of male relief, as Collingwood star Harry O’Brien made a surprise visit.  He shared an inspiring story about his life, and thanked ‘a legend that’s helped me a lot’, author Neale Donald Walsche while introducing him on stage.

As the football star and the author had a bit of a hug , I thought see guys, these things are not just for the girls. Yes you can do it too and no one’s going to judge you.   So stop judging yourselves!