Heathrow Terminal 3
I may have joked on Twitter about Love Actually style scenes with a side of jet lag, but that was exactly what it was. If you took away the jerseys, the cameras and the hype, the Lion’s touching down in Heathrow could have brought a tear to any hard lined journalist’s eye as scenes of friends and family gathering to welcome home their loved ones acted as a reminder that our Lions heroes are people too.
Three moments in particular touched me whilst I stood in an enclosed pen waiting for our homecoming interview with Captain Sam. The first was James Haskell and his girlfriend Chloe Madeley. When it comes to these two I have no shame, he is a 'love him or hate him' kind of guy and I am unashamedly pro-Haskell.
Once I was even caught using the following statement:
“Is it really even a tour is James Haskell isn’t on it”
- I have never met them - I might add, but I love their social media offering. It’s refreshing to see a couple who don’t live in each other’s shadow and support each other unconditionally in their ventures, plus Chloe is an absolute boss and I strive to achieve her level of dedication to fitness – it will never happen!
Their rendezvous in the airport was not only touching to witness but I felt it also reflected a bit of me and a bit of my own relationship. I would have done exactly the same to my other half had he been away for six weeks, only I would have taken him out with the sheer force of my jump.
The second moment that plastered a massive grin on my face was Maro Itoje cruising out of the arrivals gate - Maro doesn’t walk, he cruises - because he is so damn effortlessly cool. Nothing fazes the guy. Even carrying Bill the giant lion teddy on the top of his luggage, he still manages to pull off a swagger than most men can only dream of. I doff my imaginary hat to you Maro – you legend.
Finally I was touched by Joe Marler - get your mind out of the gutter you dirty lot - but seriously how often do you hear a reporter say that; perhaps one of the toughest and most difficult men in the game. Well there was this wonderful moment, where Joe was on his knees with a gorgeous little boy who wrapped him up in his tiny arms, barely making it past his bicep.
It’s moments like this no matter how intimidating a player can appear on the pitch, how in awe we can be of their skills and talent or even how blase we become about our heroes because we're lucky enough to work in the industry we do, there is always a whole other side to players that we will only ever catch a glimpse of. As a reporter it’s that bit of a player's personality that I want to see and today my heart was truly won over by Heathrow Terminal 3.