From all of us at the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Today we bring you a column from 1975 when Jim Murray was honored as Irishman of the Year.
SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 1975, SPORTS
Copyright 1975/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY
‘Irish Man of the Year’
It will come as a great surprise to all of you — to say nothing of St. Patrick, I am sure — but tomorrow night, on the natal day of all Irishmen, I am to be honored by the Masquers Club of Hollywood as the — get this! — “Irish Man of the Year.”
I can understand their admiration. Being Irish and not making a muck of things by my age calls for a testimonial of some kind, an achievement kind of like overcoming a clubfoot.
It grieves me they had to settle for a mere sportswriter, but that’s what’s happened to the ancestral land of poets, saints and scholars. They’ve all become harbor commissioners. You see, you have to get an Irish author young usually. Before he dies of the drink, that is. If an Irishman says he’s a writer, give him a sobriety test. If he flunks it, he’s a writer.
They’ll be needing to know a few things about the Irish if they’re wanting to keep from making fools of themselves Monday night. An Irishman is a guy who:
May not be sure there’s a God, but is damn sure of the infallibility of the Pope.
Won’t eat meat on Friday but will drink gin for breakfast.
Believes everything he can’t see and nothing he can.
To paraphrase Cleveland Amory, is someone who’s very good at weekends, but not very good in the middle of the week.
Is against abortion but in favor of hanging (or vice versa).
Has such great respect for the truth he only uses it in emergencies.
Is irrational in important things but a tower of strength in the trivial.
Gets married for life, but not necessarily for love.
Can argue either side of the question, often at the same time.
Sees things not as they are but as they never will be.
Believes in leprechauns and banshees and considers anyone who doesn’t to be a heathen.
Can lick any man in the house he is sole occupant of.
Cries at sad movies and cheers in battle.
Considers funerals a festivity but weddings sad events to be put off as long as possible, preferably forever.
Says he hates the English, but reserves his greatest cruelty for his countrymen.
Is not afraid of dying, in fact, he might prefer it.
Gets more Irish the farther he gets from Ireland.
Believes that God is Irish or, at least Catholic.
Believes in civil rights, but not in his neighborhood.
Is against corruption, unless it’s a Democrat.
Takes the pledge not to drink at the age of 12 — and every four years thereafter.
Believes that to forgive is divine, therefore, doesn’t exercise it himself.
Believes salvation can be achieved by means of a weekly envelope.
Considers anyone who won’t come around to his point of view to be hopelessly stubborn.
Loves religion for its own sake, but also because it makes it so damnably inconvenient for his neighbors.
Considers a bore to be someone who keeps constantly interrupting.
Scorns money, but worships those who have it.
Considers any Irishman who achieves success to be a traitor.
Well, you can see we are a very perverse, complex people. It’s what makes us lovable. We’re banking heavily that God has a sense of humor.
I, myself, have much of the good humor of the Irish, but fortunately few of their faults, or as my grandfather preferred to call them, “inconsistencies,” and I know the Masquers will want to know that I was a) a fine altar boy who never watered the wine like Mick Kingsley to cover up his samplings; b) winner of the Latin medal in grade school over a field of three others; c) the best speller in my class on the boys’ side and 73rd overall; d) a good citizen who always co-operated with the police whenever we got caught sneaking into the Rivoli Theater, because I wanted to save my companions from a life of crime and not, as they suggested, myself from a whipping; e) a Boy Scout who would have made Eagle Scout except I flunked helping old ladies across the street, and whenever I rubbed two sticks together I got sawdust.
And you ask, how are things in Gloccamorra?!
Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times
Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116
What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation?
The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.
Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org.
A dozen years ago, Linda McCoy-Murray compiled a book of Jim Murray’s columns on female athletes (1961-1998). While the book is idle waiting for an interested publisher, the JMMF thinks this is an appropriate year to get the book on the shelves, i.e., Jim Murray’s 100th birthday, 1919-2019.
Our mission is to empower women of all ages to succeed and prosper — in and out of sports — while entertaining the reader with Jim Murray’s wit and hyperbole. An excellent teaching tool for Women’s Studies.
Proceeds from book sales will benefit the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing sports journalism scholarships at universities across the country.