Anyway, whilst idly watching the news the other day I was thrilled to discover that the winner of my inaugural Studs On The 22 Slap on the Back Hero of the Year Award (a catchy title, no?) has been honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
Arise, Sir Ian!
Yes, Ian McGeechan, or should I say Sir Ian McGeechan has been knighted, and I can't think of a more dedicated and deserving recipient from the world of rugby after everything he has done for the game as a player, coach, and a manager.
It's funny, but I generally raise an eyebrow when the modern honours list is revealed every year, before huffing and puffing and wondering if there really is much meaning left in the honours system. Hardly anyone seems to know what the honours stand for anymore or what they actually mean, and even though it is great to see people's achievements recognised and praised I can't really see the point in all the ceremonial pomp.
Despite this, I did smile when I saw that Ian McGeechan is now a Sir. I mean, everyone knows what a knighthood is don't they? It's like that scene in the film A Knight's Tale when Heath Ledger's character drops to his knee to be dubbed Sir William by the dashing King... Just without the full body armour and damsels in distress.
McGeechan is a great man (if not a jousting knight) and he epitomises everything that rugby and especially the British and Irish Lions stand for: pride, passion, belief, mental strength and teamwork - both when he was a player and also latterly in his role as head coach. Throughout his playing career at Headingley (which merged with Roundhay to form Leeds RUFC in 1991) and internationally for Scotland and the Lions, and then in his coaching career for Scotland, Northampton, Wasps and not forgetting the Lions, McGeechan has maintained his quietly unassuming manner and amiable persona and has successfully adapted along with this increasingly competitive and changing sport. I can't think of a better person from rugby to be honoured in such a way.
There is an article by Matt Dawson on the BBC website about Sir Ian McGeechan which is well worth a read to find out a bit more about the man behind the title.
This is a really positive way for rugby to start the new year. More of the same please and congratulations Sir Ian!