In Sunshine or In Shadow…

By the time I wrote last Monday’s blog, handshakes had already become a thing of the past. One week later and all schools, colleges and pubs are shut. What will next Monday bring?

I don’t know. You don’t know. They don’t even know. So instead of speculating, wondering, gossiping, why not be a bit more like Gerry Storey?

Gerry was a boxing coach working in Belfast at a time when it wasn’t just a virus threatening society, it was actual humans with guns trying to kill each other. And not just one subgroup of society as it is now, but anyone at all. Indeed three attempts were made on Gerry’s life as a result of the work he did…

So what did he do? He trained boxers. Protestant and Catholic. It didn’t matter. He loved and respected all. And as a result he brought together two bitterly divided communities during these years in ways that no-one else in that time managed.

He didn’t dwell on the bad things that were happening, he didn’t speculate as to what might happen, he just got on with things and made a real difference in the lives of ordinary people during in the middle of what was a fairly horrific situation.

The title of this blog is also the title of a book written by Donald McRae about Gerry and the unique role he played in 1970s Belfast. It is also a line from the climax of the song Danny Boy, a song sung by Pat McGuigan and a huge crowd when Pat’s son Barry (trained by Gerry Storey) won the World Featherweight Boxing Championship.

And to round the story off, Danny Boy is the song featured in this week’s Weekly Challenge – 6 questions about this famous song for musicians of all levels.

So while we’re waiting to hear what might happen, when life might return to normal, why not turn off the radio, turn off social media, and challenge yourself. Learn something. Be productive.

PS my offer of free piano lessons from last Thursday still has some places left…you should try it even if you can already play.