North Harbour Sevens captain Luke Hamilton dared to be different during a post-match interview last weekend, then someone decided to go and be a jerk about it. Scotty Stevenson says: screw that.

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Luke Hamilton, you are a champ.

I’ve been working in rugby for a decade and in that time I have heard all sorts of things in halftime and post-match interviews. I have also heard the same thing – insert personal favourite rugby cliché here – at least two hundred times, which is no surprise given the fact that players are A) tired as fuck and B) don’t actually want a microphone shoved under their nose at that point (or any point) in time.

I have heard F-bombs and banter, put-downs and sulks; full credit has been given and ‘nah definitely’s delivered. I can’t remember a time, however, when a player has finished a game, immediately whipped out photos of his two kids, and proceeded to sing a Barney the Dinosaur song to one of them, on live television.

Barney the Purple damn Dinosaur!

Holy shit! What a champion. Speaking as a father of two young children who have moved on from such shows, I have done everything in my power to forget the words to every Barney the Dinosaur song ever written (as well as the collected works of the Wiggles, and the theme song to any toddler-targeted television programme produced in the 21st century).  A mix of liquor and paternal denial, in my case, has almost done the trick.

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Not so the laudable Luke Hamilton, who rightly acknowledged he was closer to 40 than 20 and who would be the first to admit he had no business playing five games of sevens over the weekend. Not only did the wee fella know all the words to ‘I Love You’, he managed to belt them out while trying to reinflate two ageing lungs and bring his heart rate down from 300 beats per minute. That, in itself, is a miracle.

I bumped into Luke a little while after his performance. “Me Facebook is blowing up, Sumo!” he exclaimed, with trademark Luke Hamilton enthusiasm. “No shit, mate,” I offered in return. He informed me that Kaeleigh and Lachie (his young children for who he had sung the song) had already re-wound and watched the interview approximately 467 times. Barney be damned!

Of course the video of the interview was shared a gazillion times across various websites, which is tantamount to an open invitation to severely repressed men with penis plaque and/or unhappy disapproving types everywhere to tut-tut the whole thing because, well because how dare someone be so comfortable in their own skin and so obviously adoring of their children?

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Most of the reaction, thankfully, has been positive – along the lines of “Luke, you are definitely not right in the head” (he has had a few concussions) and “You’re a fucken legend” which was true before he sung Barney and is even truer now. However, from somewhere deep in the bowels of the New Zealand Herald came an anonymous write-off of the now-viral clip excoriating Luke Hamilton for having a personality. [Note: the story has since been completely rewritten from a positive angle]

In honour of Luke Hamilton’s number 9 jersey (which should be hung from the rafters of North Harbour Stadium) let me list nine things that are [were] wrong with this piece:

1. It has no by-line. If you are going to rain down hammer blows on one of the finest midget ginger battlers ever to grace the game’s provincial fields, at least have the good grace to put your name to it.

2.This needs to be nipped in the bud” is a phrase that should only appear in a gardening advice column.

3.Before this becomes a trend”: What? Do you really think every rugby player on the planet is now going to sing purple dinosaur songs to their children post-match? I think you may need to calm the fuck down. And what if they did? Well, we can’t be having all those happy children, now, can we?

4.Cringe-inducing note”: Nope. Everyone else laughed their asses off.

5. With the greatest respect to my esteemed colleague Willie Lose, I’m not sure he has ever spoken for the nation. In much the same way this opinion piece (and every other opinion piece, ever) doesn’t.

6.Viewers quite rightly began to fear the worst”: Yes, we all thought we were going to get bowel cancer and burn alive. Good grief! It’s a fun post-match interview, not the apocalypse.

7.Hamilton has absolutely no future in show business”: I’d watch him. So would all of my friends. Five nights a week. At least.

8.It makes you wonder what his team speeches are like”: Yes, it does. I want to hear one. In fact I want Luke Hamilton to give me a little pep talk before every workday. I would be so into work with a little encouragement from a man who so obviously gives so few fucks.

9. It has no by-line.

I say be damned you soulless ghoul. May Luke Hamilton’s children never grow old enough to be embarrassed by their dad, and may this crazy man play on forever, if only for the post-match interviews.

[Full Disclaimer. Luke and I go back a ways, and what you may not have seen is the part of the interview in which he says that song was as much for me as it was for his kids. Which was really lovely and quite touching, actually – especially as I had just taken the piss out of him in a commentary.]

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