Don’t Give Up 21st May 2014

“I’ve wrestled with alligators,

I’ve tussled with a whale.

I done handcuffed lightning

And throw thunder in jail.”


Them is fighting words. The kind we’ve come to expect from spirited Rosie Cleary. Vox Populi Toastmasters _boxing gloves_SXC with captionEspecially when giving her CC10, the primary objective of which is to inspire the audience.

Only this time she was quoting someone else with spirit – Muhammad Ali. “Rumble In the Jumble”, was written by Ali in 1974, before stepping into the ring and defeating reigning heavyweight champion George Foreman in a truly inspiring victory

Using all she had learned at Toastmasters – physical gestures, vocal variety, visual aids- Rosie recreated the fight’s dramatic tension and used Ali’s story to convey her core message : “Don’t give up”. She is a most worthy recipient of her Competent Communicator award, no easy feat.

Colm O’Duil is another man who doesn’t give up. In his lovely, authentic Icebreaker, Colm told us that in spite of suffering from dyslexia, he nevertheless succeeded in obtaining a degree in entrepreneurship, something he has a great love for.  Entrepreneurs, he reminded us, are needed in society to generate wealth. Colm is currently working at getting a new business off the ground but it takes time and persistence. He is confident of success, however, and enjoying the process.

Mark O’Dwyer then took us on a hilarious “ranter’s ramble.  “Rants in my Pants” was original, intelligent and occasionally side-splittingly funny.  Mark denounced celebrity culture, reality TV and …wait for it…pandas. I had never realised what a disgrace these animals were. Too lazy to reproduce, they simply eat acres of bamboo shoots day after day.  What to do with these animals that spend too much time on the loo? We should give cows a break, argued Mark, and eat pandas instead.

Another person in favour of drastic action was Rosie in topics, who suggested that Jacinta break her chocolate addiction by imagining eating liver and hair-clippings just before she tucks in. Varied and interesting topics were delivered by Topicsmaster, Tomas; Simon was cool and confident in his first role as timer; Conor gave an excellent general evaluation and Muireann was professional and personable as toastmaster, keeping us all to time and delivering an interesting theme.

Which was:  what job would we all like for one day? Ahmad would like to be a TV presenter, Mark a fighter pilot, Colm a Ferrari mechanic and Rosie an acrobat. No-one wanted to stay at home and make bread, except possibly Michelle who loves cooking. We’re fond of our dreams at Vox. We may have to tussle with alligators, poopy pandas and Wispa bar addictions along the way, but we’re nothing if not persistent. “Don’t give up” as Rosie would say.

Fiona O’Meara – Guest Blogger