I got an email from the receptionist at the school where I teach. It said that a television producer had phoned the school looking for me and she had left a phone number and email address.
I was mystified. I called the number. The woman at the other end of the line sounded friendly and she was in knots of laughter throughout our conversation. She told me that she was from the show Second Captains.
I’m kind of familiar with the show. I’d sometimes listened to its predecessor show on the radio. It’s a sports chat show. While I’d sooner have my testicles sawn off with a blunt spatula by Sonia from Eastenders than listen to live commentary on a match or a race on the radio, I quite like sports chat shows. They’re not that different from pop culture shows. Banal irrelevancies, like kicking a ball, are scrutinised to the same silly degree as a red carpet frock. Relatively meaningless acts are imbued with massive significance by the fans. And all this drama is played out by people who are idolised by the public and are, by and large, weird. There isn’t that big a difference between Amanda Bynes and Tony Cascarino. And these guys do quite an entertaining show.
So I knew the show, but I was dumbstruck at the idea that they were ringing me. Me? On a sports show? It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know sport. I’m the only person in Ireland who didn’t watch Katie Taylor win her Olympic gold medal. Until two weeks ago, I thought Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo were the same person. I’m just not a sporty person. Today in the post I got a lime green polka dot vintage scarf from Canada. And I’m planning my summer around the One Direction concert I’m going to in May. I am not Mister Sport.
The producer went onto explain that one of the presenters of the show was on the secondary school TV quiz show Blackboard Jungle in the 1990s. And my team had beaten his. I remember being on Blackboard Jungle. I was on it twice, in the summers of 1996 and 1997. There are still neighbours of mine in Ballincollig who know me as the guy who was on Blackboard Jungle.
I don’t remember all that much about the experience. I remember Ray D’Arcy’s suits. I remember the RTÉ canteen. We met Joe Lynch, who played Dinny in Glenroe, and was a grandfather to the nation. We met Mary Kingston, from children’s “fun” science show The Works. I don’t remember any of the questions I got right, but I remember that we didn’t know what nationality Philip Glass was, and we could only think of two of the three countries in the world that begin with a “J”.
Apparently, this presenter of Second Captains wants some kind of comedy rematch of this teenage quiz. I’M GOING TO BE ON TV! Maybe.
The producer found me on the internet. I only dread to think what it was she found about me. There’s an awful lot of me on the internet.
She asked if I was interested. She also asked if I could get in touch with my teammates and ask if they were interested. I did. They are. Ish. Obviously, this could turn out to be nothing. But for now, I’m still laughing. Connor’s going to be on a sport show. LOL.