"It’s kind of frightening how quickly that can have a big impact on someone’s life"
"I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that conversation!"
Connacht and Ireland outhalf likened the Coronavirus-related suspension of the rugby season to a sensation of suddenly being retired. One day, you are training and joking with teammates and the next you are at home with nothing to plan for and work towards.
Carty, like thousands of other rugby professionals, will hopefully return when rugby authorities get the all clear from their respective governments and health experts. Former Leinster star Isa Nacewa pointed out, however, that should the 2019/20 season be scrapped, the impact will be felt keenly by those that were planning to retire at the end of the season.
On his Facebook page, Nacewa wrote:
'The loneliest time in a changing room for the players that are going to retire is when everyone around you is talking about the “new club signings”, or what pre season is gonna be like.
'They will be struggling, even if they don’t admit it. Take a moment out of your day (we all have a lot of time at the moment) and check in on them to make sure everything is okay.'
Nacewa's poignant post brought home, again, the human side of our rugby professionals and how we can take that for granted.
Carty recently admitted to how, at an earlier stage of his career, criticism or praise would dictate how his whole week would go. He even went so far as screen-grabbing negative social media comments from a disgruntled fan and saving the images in a folder. He said:
"I'd go to Twitter immediately after and search my name. That was all when in good when I was going well but, earlier on in my career, that consistency that I would have now wasn't there. So one week I was on top of the world and if I played poorly, that would reverberate through my whole week. My whole Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I would have been down in the dumps because of what people said about me online."
On the latest episode of Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby, Andrew Trimbl offered a stark insight into how New York has been set reeling by the Coronavirus outbreak.
"It’s a big thing at the minute," Trimble began as himself and Murphy discussed social media criticism and abuse.
"Obviously with everything that happened with [former Love Island presenter] Caroline Flack, outside of rugby, and then inside of rugby with pundits and supporters. Everyone out there has an opinion now, with social media. It’s kind of frightening how quickly that can have a big impact on someone’s life."
Murphy and Trimble then touched on Carty initially using the criticism as fuel to his fire and how only some players can do such a thing without leaving themselves drained.
TRIMBLE: "Jack Carty’s approach, I found that interesting, that he took screen-grabs and kept them in a folder. Because that seems unhealthy and probably for most people, that is unhealthy. I know ROG - he didn’t do that, obviously - but I know he was always aware of who was saying what about him, and who he wanted to prove wrong. He used that as ammunition. So it’s not always negative. Overwhelmingly, the majority of the time, it will be negative but there are some people like ROG.
"Another one was Tom Court. I remember Tom Court used to get massively motivated… I just remember on time whenever he wasn’t getting picked for Ireland and then we were playing away to Dragons. Tom was so fired up. He went over; he scored the worst try of all time. And because he was so fired up, he went like that ‘Sssshhhhh’ to the crowd."
MURPHY: "That's so out of character for Tom!"
TRIMBLE: "But what he didn’t realise was that was the disabled section. He was just shushing all the disabled people in the crowd. But he was really annoyed because Declan Kidney wasn’t picking him at the time, not because the disabled people in Newport were giving him a hard time. But, anyway, Tom used that as motivation. We always got the best out of Tom when he was fired up and he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. I think ROG maybe played a bit like that as well. He maybe played better when he had something to prove. I know he always read everything that was out there."
MURPHY: "In that book, Stillness Is The Key, that (John) Cooney was talking about, the author talks about Michael Jordan and when he was put into the Hall of Fame... He’d achieved everything that was possible to achieve at that point. He got up on the podium and went on a 20-minute rant, including all the people that had abused him or put him down throughout his career, or didn't pick him. And it sounded absolutely insane, but it was kind of an indication of how much he used that stuff to fuel him, and to fuel him becoming one of the best athletes of all time."
TRIMBLE: "I think, generally, I think most people that’s going to weigh heavily, no matter what. It might be used as extra motivation, occasionally, but generally that’s going to weigh heavily. And you’re going to hold onto something and carry something around that isn’t really that healthy. There are one or two people that can do it. Michael Jordan, Tom Court and O’Gara. Think they’re the three! I’d like to see those three go out for coffee. I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that conversation!
Trimble and Murphy both had their fair share of praise and criticism over the seasons of their careers. And, as Carty has learned, it is best to block out most of the external noises and focus on what your close circle has to say.
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The House of Rugby gang are back together, on Skype anyway. Jerry Flannery dials in from Limerick and Barry Murphy chats to Mark O'Keefe over in New York about rugby and the Coronavirus. Andrew Trimble reaches out to a sickly penguin while Producer Pat catches up with Jack Carty.