Dissecting the Italian rugby movement

Dissecting the Italian rugby movement

As the so-called experts on TV will never speak of this, this is well worth a read to understand Italian rugby before jumping on the bandwagon to have them thrown out of the Six Nations

Leoni Fuori

This article is intended for a non-Italian audience.

It happens every year, at least in recent times. During the weeks of the Six Nations tournament supporters from the Home Nations and France repeat the adagio: why is Italy even involved, since they aren’t level with the others? We’ve lost more than 30 matches in a row as of February 2022 and, besides a few brave games, we can’t compete against any of the other five. The last victory over France dates back to 2013, the last victory altogether was in 2015. Why is it taking so long to win a game in the tournament again? It is only legitimate for our “cousin” fans to wonder what are we even doing to fix this, and whether it makes sense to keep going together or to part ways. Are we renovating the structure of our grassroots rugby? Are we investing…

View original post 3,534 more words

Movember 2021: Day 30

Movember 2021: Day 30

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. If you wish to donate, every little helps, and there are 3 ways you can do so:

  • Head to my Mo Space
  • Check out my Instagram (@pstetheridge), where I have set up a second fundraiser
  • Write a cheque to ‘Movember’ referencing my registration ID (13438480) and mail it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 485, Wilstead, Bedford, MK45 3XN

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 30

And so, the end is near. The Monkeytail must face the final curtain. Well, it’ll hang around for a few days until I can be bothered to shave. It has been another fun month of growing and raising both funds and awareness for the Movember Foundation.

A few people have asked me about how hard it is to do this, and it’s pretty much second nature to me now as I’ve done it 4 or 5 times now, so I thought I’d put together a few tips for anyone thinking of giving it a go next year:

  • Decide which way round you want to do it (which ear it will go up to). If you have a patch where it doesn’t grow on one side, you may have to take that into account when planning. If you have a chance beforehand, it may be worth just practicing the next few times you shave to see what looks or feels better. Personally, I prefer taking it up to my right ear as I’m right-handed, so when shaving it feels more comfortable making the more precise movements on the right side of my face rather than reaching across my body.
  • Try to keep the shape distinct, shave every couple of days to ensure that the rest of your face does not get to a stage where the stubble is almost as long as the design, as this just makes it harder to find the shape when you are shaving.
  • Similar to the above, once I have the shape in place, I prefer just using soap rather than shaving gel, as it allows me to see the design and keep the shape
  • Personally, I find it helpful to use my jawline as the bottom of the section going up the side of my face, while the for the section going down the one side of my mouth I take advantage of a natural thinning of my facial hair between the top lip and my cheeks, which I also use for my natural beard
  • Start big. Don’t make it really narrow straight away as that leaves you no room for error. As I get into the latter stages, I will often just take a little off in places to get it looking exactly how I want it

And now of course for the fundraising! Thank you to everyone who has donated, I managed to reach my initial target of £100 on my Mo Space, while I have also raised £35.45 on my Instagram fundraiser. Of course, there is still time to donate if you want, but this is already one of my most successful years!

Sporting Mo

So for our final report, I stick with rugby, with Mat Turner

Mat Turner is a South African born rugby player, most well known for his time in the World Sevens Series and Major League Rugby.

Usually a wing or fullback in 15s, Turner started his professional career at Bristol (2008-2010), during which time he also played for the newly-created South African franchise the Southern Kings in their first ever match, against the British & Irish Lions during the 2009 Lions Tour.

Turner played for England 7s courtesy of his English mother. He went on to become a regular for the team, featuring in 34 Sevens World Series tournaments between 2009-2013, scoring 93 tries and 16 conversions over 145 matches. Turner was top scorer in the 2011–12 IRB Sevens World Series with 38 tries (1 more than teammate Dan Norton), and was nominated for the 2012 IRB Sevens Player of the Year award.

Following his 7s career, he returned to 15s, where he played for Western Province in the 2015 Vodacom Cup after missing out on a spot in the Stormers’ 2015 Super Rugby squad. After a spell as the head coach of the Sri Lanka national rugby sevens team, he signed with the Seattle Seawolves for the inaugural MLR season, going on to be a regular starter for them in all 4 seasons to date, being named MLR champions in 2018 and 2019.

 

So why does Turner make this list, as he is most commonly seen clean shaven or with a beard. Well it all goes back to Movember 2013, as much younger Tim was browsing YouTube looking for updates on the current 7s season and found a video of Turner’s effort for the year… You’ve guessed it, the monkey tail!

rugby movember mat turner monkeytail And in that moment, my design for Movember 2014 (and many years since) was confirmed!

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

Movember 2021: Day 26

Movember 2021: Day 26

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. If you wish to donate, every little helps, and there are 3 ways you can do so:

  • Head to my Mo Space
  • Check out my Instagram (@pstetheridge), where I have set up a second fundraiser
  • Write a cheque to ‘Movember’ referencing my registration ID (13438480) and mail it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 485, Wilstead, Bedford, MK45 3XN

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 26

We’re just days away from the end of the month and as per usual, I have fallen well and truly in love with the Monkeytail. This happens every year, and a large part of me needs to keep it, but then what would I do next November?!

So last time I updated you I was feeling a little negative after a couple of family members decided not to donate after originally saying they would, so apologies for that. But the last few days have seen a bit of positive movement on the fundraising front. A donation from one of my regular Mo-Bros recently donated on my Mo Space, while I was touched to see a complete stranger find my Instagram fundraiser and donate there! With working from home, the Monkeytail’s public viewings have been limited this year, but tomorrow I take a trip to Birmingham and intend to show it off to the full.

With just a few days left of the month, I know many of us are reaching payday, and while this is understandably and expensive time of year, anything that you can donate will be greatly appreciated.

Sporting Mo

So for our penultimate report, I return to Australian rugby, with Nick Cummins

Nick Cummins, known to many as “The Honey Badger” is a former Australian rugby player, who was usually found on the wing. During his professional career, he played club rugby for Perth Spirit (2007) and the Western Force (2008-2015). In July 2014, he was released early from his Western Force and Australian Rugby Union contracts on compassionate grounds to move to Japan and play for Coca-Cola Red Sparks, as the higher salaries available in Japan would provide his family some security as they dealt with some health issues. This move abroad brought his Test career with the Wallabies to an end, having scored 6 tries in 15 appearances.

While a great player, what really made Cummins a fan favourite was that you would never know what he would say next in an interview, with the below quotes just a quick example of his entertainment value:

  • “Sweatin’ like a gypsy with a mortgage, actually.”
  • “Last year we were all sizzle and no steak, but now we’re off like a brides nightie.”
  • “When you come into this sort of game you’ve got to show the patience of the Dalai Lama initially in order to get that gig and when it comes round be ready to strike.”
  • “He was sweating like a bag of cats at a greyhound meet.”
  • “When we were back in our line here, we were diggin’ like the boys in the trenches at Gallipoli.”
  • “I was busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad mate, it was flat out.”

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

Movember 2021: Day 21

Movember 2021: Day 21

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. If you wish to donate, every little helps, and there are 3 ways you can do so:

  • Head to my Mo Space
  • Check out my Instagram (@pstetheridge), where I have set up a second fundraiser
  • Write a cheque to ‘Movember’ referencing my registration ID (13438480) and mail it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 485, Wilstead, Bedford, MK45 3XN

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 21

It’s hard to believe that we’re already 3 weeks through this! I am now well and truly attached to the Monkeytail, so much so that I am considering it making a return next year but for an extended run (wach this space!)

Now I must admit, 21 days into the month, I’m extremely grateful for everyone who has donated, but I must admit that I find myself a little disappointed. I set myself a relatively low initial target of £100, and thanks to your generosity I am already 60% of the way there, while I’ve also had a donation on the Instagram fundraiser, but I was hoping to have a bit more success, especially as I feel like I’ve been pushing harder than usual on social media! I appreciate that everyone is always asking for donations for some charitable thing, while the timing of this right before Christmas probably doesn’t help, but I’ve also had a few people—close family members, no less— say they’ll donate and then back out when they see how to donate.

So let me remind you why I do this:

  • Globally, men die 5 years earlier than women, and many of the reasons are largely preventable
  • In the UK, 3 out of 4 suicides are men
  • 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men

I’m lucky, I’m able to help the Movember Foundation, rather than need their help. But I can only do so much, and I need your support. As always, any donations would be greatly appreciated!

Sporting Mo

So for Day 21, I look at the wearer of one of the greatest moustaches in sport, with Merv Hughes

Mervyn Hughes is a former Australian cricketer. A right-arm fast bowler, he represented Australia in 53 Test matches between 1985-1994, taking 212 wickets. He played 33 One Day Internationals, taking 38 wickets. He took a hat-trick in a Test against the West Indies at the WACA in 1988–89 that was unusual as it was spread across three separate overs, two innings and two different days. In 1993, he took 31 wickets in the Ashes series against England. He was a useful lower-order batsman, scoring two half-centuries in Tests and over 1,000 runs in all. He also represented the Victorian Bushrangers, Essex in English county cricket, the ACT Comets and Australia A in the World Series Cup.

Competition Test ODI First Class List A
Matches 53 33 165 88
Runs scored 1,032 100 2,649 264
Batting average 16.64 11.11 17.54 8.51
100s/50s 0/2 0/0 0/7 0/0
Top score 72* 20 72* 20
Balls bowled 12,285 1,639 34,881 4,466
Wickets 212 38 593 105
Bowling average 28.38 29.34 29.39 30
5 wickets in innings 7 0 21 1
10 wickets in match 1 0 3 0
Best bowling 8/87 4/44 8/87 5/41
Catches/stumpings 23/– 6/– 56/– 19/–

Hughes’ physical presence, handlebar moustache, penchant for exuberant displays of affection for his fellow players, along with a tendency to talk to the opposition in inventively colourful language and a run-up that at times stretched to 45 paces, made him a firm favourite amongst supporters, who would often imitate his warm-up stretches behind him en masse. In England, on his second Ashes tour in 1993, the crowd often chanted “Sumo” when he ran in to bowl.

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

Movember 2021: Day 16

Movember 2021: Day 16

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. If you wish to donate, every little helps, and there are 3 ways you can do so:

  • Head to my Mo Space
  • Check out my Instagram (@pstetheridge), where I have set up a second fundraiser
  • Write a cheque to ‘Movember’ referencing my registration ID (13438480) and mail it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 485, Wilstead, Bedford, MK45 3XN

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 16

We’re at the halfway point already and as is always the case around this point in the month, I’m growing attached to the Monkeytail and having to stop myself not thinking about keeping it long term!

Once again, a big thank you to those who have already donated this year. I set myself a relatively low initial target of £100, and thanks to your generosity I am already 60% of the way there, but I would love to hit this target ASAP and push for a higher amount. I’ve have also had my first donation on the Instagram fundraiser, which has been great! As always, any donations would be greatly appreciated!

Sporting Mo

So for Day 16, I move away from the racetrack and to the football pitch, with a look at David Seaman

David Seaman is an English former footballer, who played as goalkeeper in a career spanning from 1981-2004. At his peak, Seaman was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world during the 1990s.

Seaman began his career at Leeds United, the club he supported as a boy, and eventually retired as a Manchester City player due to a recurring shoulder injury, but is most famous for his time at Arsenal, where he won three league championships (1991, 1998, 2002), four FA Cups (1993, 1998, 2002, 2003), the League Cup in 1993 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1994. The full list of teams he played for is:

  • Leeds United (1981-1982) – 0 appearances
  • Peterborough United (1982-1984) – 91 appearances
  • Birmingham City (1984-1986) – 75 appearances
  • Queens Park Rangers (1986-1990) – 141 appearances
  • Arsenal (1990-2003) – 405 appearances
  • Manchester City (2003-2004) – 19 appearances

Seaman made his England debut in 1988 and appeared for the side in fifteen consecutive years, which was a national record. He went on to earn 75 caps, leaving him as the joint-second most capped English goalkeeper, level with Joe Hart and behind only Peter Shilton.

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

Movember 2021: Day 10

Movember 2021: Day 10

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. If you wish to donate, every little helps, and there are 3 ways you can do so:

  • Head to my Mo Space
  • Check out my Instagram (@pstetheridge), where I have set up a second fundraiser
  • Write a cheque to ‘Movember’ referencing my registration ID (13438480) and mail it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 485, Wilstead, Bedford, MK45 3XN

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 10

We’re basically a third of the way through the month and if Day 6’s first shave is the most important, Day 10’s was only slightly less. With this shave, the Monkeytail becomes fully visible, so it’s important to get the shaping right. One slip of the hand and the design could be ruined.

I’m so happy with how well the Monkeytail has progressed in just 10 days and can’t wait to see how it is by the end of the month. I’ve been pushing things pretty hard on social media, especially my Facebook. I’ve also set up a second fundraiser on Instagram to run through the month in the hope that I may get a few extra donations there.

Once again, a big thank you to those who have already donated this year. I set myself a relatively low initial target of £100, and thanks to your generosity I am already 60% of the way there, but I would love to hit this target ASAP and push for a higher amount, so any donations would be greatly appreciated!

Sporting Mo

So for Day 10, I’ve stayed in motor racing but moved from Britain to the US, with a look at Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt was an American stock car racer who raced from 1975 to 2001 in the former NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now called the NASCAR Cup Series). His aggressive driving style earned him the nicknames “The Intimidator”, “The Man in Black”, and “Ironhead”. He is regarded as one of the greatest drivers, and by many NASCAR fans, the greatest driver, in NASCAR history. He is most commonly associated with the Number 3 Chevrolet—if you have seen the film Zombieland, Talahassee paints a “3” on his cars as a reference to Dale Earnhardt.

Earnhardt won a total of 76 Winston Cup races over the course of his four-decade career, including four Winston 500s (1990, 1994, 1999, and 2000) and the 1998 Daytona 500. He is the only driver in NASCAR history to score at least 1 win in each of 4 different decades (1st career win in 1979, 38 wins in the 1980s, 35 wins in the 1990s, & his final 2 career wins in 2000). He also earned seven Winston Cup championships, a record held with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson.

On February 18, 2001, Earnhardt died in a sudden last-lap crash during the Daytona 500, an event that is regarded in the racing industry as being a crucial moment in improving safety in all aspects of car racing, especially NASCAR. Earnhardt has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the NASCAR Hall of Fame inaugural class in 2010.

Movember 2021: Day 6

Movember 2021: Day 6

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. You can find my Mo-Space here if you wish to donate, anything will be greatly appreciated! For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Day 6

Today is a big day!

After going back to the baby face and seeing the stubble grow back in for the best part of the week—not to mention going to my friend’s wedding reception without the comfort of my beard—today was the day that I officially went for the first shaping of this year’s mo. So without further ado, I present to you 2021’s Monkeytail!

Those who know me will know that the Monkeytail has become a personal favourite over the years as not only does it look suitably ridiculous for a month of fundraising, but it is also surprisingly easy to keep shaped.

A big thank you to those who have already donated this year. I’ve set myself a relatively low initial target of £100 this month, and thanks to your generosity I am already 30% of the way there, but I would love to hit this target ASAP and push for a higher amount, so any donations would be greatly appreciated!

Sporting Mo

So for Day 6, I’ve moved away from the rugby pitch and onto the racetrack, with a look at Nigel Mansell

Nigel Mansell is a British former racing driver. In Formula 1, he raced for Lotus (1980-84), Williams (85-88) and Ferrari (89-90), before returning to Williams (91-92). Mansell won the 1992 Championship, before leaving F1 for the CART Indy Car World Series, which he won in his debut season in 1993. After the 1994 CART season, he returned to Formula 1 with Williams for rounds 7, 14, 15 and 16 of the 1994 season following the death of Ayrton Senna. He moved to McLaren for the 1995 season, but retired after races 3 and 4.

In Formula 1, Mansell turned 191 (187 starts) into 31 wins—the only Brit to have eclipsed this to date is Lewis Hamilton—and 59 podiums. From 31 starts in CART, Mansell managed 5 victories and 13 podiums. Mansell was inducted to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Movember 2021: Day 1

Movember 2021: Day 1

It’s that time of year again! That time when I brave cold cheeks in the name of charity. Yes it’s Movember!

I’ve been doing Movember for about 10 years now as it’s a cause that is close to my heart, and this year, as we are now able to be more sociable again, I am back to fundraising for the Movember Foundation. You can find my Mo-Space here if you wish to donate, anything will be greatly appreciated! For those who haven’t heard of the Movember Foundation, they focus on “changing the face of men’s health” with a focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

This year, I’m planning to chart my “Mo-gression” with a series of posts on here. I’m aiming for one every 5-6 days but don’t hold me to that. For each one, I’ll let you have an update on how things are going along with my latest picture so that you can see how the growth is going. But this site is all about sport, so of course I have added a slight sporting twist, as each of my Mo-gression posts will also include a quick look at someone in the sporting world who has a notable moustache. I won’t promise that they will be the most famous moustached sport stars in the world, purely the ones who first came to mind as I put this together.

So… let’s get underway!

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

Day 1

And so it begins!

And it didn’t get off to the ideal start if I’m being 100% honest. I chose to shave yesterday evening as I didn’t trust myself to have time to sort before work this morning. After my last shave, I’d got rid of the head to my razor as I’d seen I had some new ones, and thought that with a full clean shave coming rather than just shaping my usual beard it would be better to have a new set of blades. Unfortunately I found out too late that these blades were for my old razor, which is long gone, so I ended up having to use this new set of blades without a handle. Safe to say that it was far from the nicest shave I’ve ever had!

So now I’m left able to see the extra chins and with cold cheeks, and can’t wait for the face fuzz to start growing in—for some reason I feel less self-conscious with ridiculous facial hair during Movember than I do when clean shaven! What design am I doing this year? You’ll have to wait and see!

Sporting Mo

So for Day 1, I’ve stuck with my main sport, rugby union, and gone for a current player in Brumbies and Australia scrum half Nic White

The 31-year-old scrum half has been around the globe as part of his rugby career, playing for the Brumbies from 2011-2015, Montpellier from 2015-2017 and Exeter Chiefs from 2017-2020 before returning back to the Brumbies to become eligible for the national team again. To date, he has amassed 44 caps.

While at Montpellier, they won the 2015–16 European Rugby Challenge Cup, while his final season with Exeter saw them win the Premiership and European Rugby Champions Cup, a rare double. With his return to the Brumbies, he soon earned more silverware as they won the 2020 Super Rugby AU.

Movember_Iconic Mo_Black

My Sporting Preferences

My Sporting Preferences

Hi guys! Something a little different today as I realised that I’ve been writing on here for almost 3 years now (time flies!) and alluding to some of the teams I support but not actually really talked about the sport I like to watch and who I support in them, so I thought today it would be a great chance to get to know me a bit better.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union is unsurprisingly my favourite sport, both the 15 and 7-a-side variations of the game. I got into rugby when I started going to secondary school and quickly fell in love with the sport. Over the years I’ve played for my school, grassroots club (shout out to Longlevens RFC!) and also started my own social 7s team in my last year of uni, and played a number of positions: all the front row, lock, blindside flanker and one match I will never forget against our local rivals where I played at outside centre!

featrugby gloucester sale 4Being a Gloucester boy born and raised, there was only 1 club I was ever going to be following once I was into the sport and that is the Cherry & Whites – Gloucester Rugby – and by extension, Hartpury RFC and Gloucester-Hartpury Women.

I have started watching a lot more rugby around the world in recent years though and the Scarlets have beat out Munster become my second team, courtesy of one of my best mates being a Scarlets fan and their attacking mentality making me always want to watch their games . I’m also really excited by the growth of rugby in the USA, so I consider the Eagles my second international team (after England) and I have tried to pay attention to the MLR – I put my support behind the Seattle Seawolves last season but with the league still expanding and new teams forming I would not say that I have adopted them as my American team. I’ve also tried to pay more attention to Super Rugby in the last few years but would not say that I have adopted a team, although I found myself firmly behind the Western Force when they were put at risk of being axed.

Football

As with (I’d assume) most English kids, football was my initial sport. Just having a kick-around on lunchtimes of after school and with highlights of the Premier League still available on terrestrial TV, it is something that is relatively easy to follow.

football shirt chicharitoAs for my favourite team, I have to admit that I’m a fan of Manchester United. *Runs for cover* Granted, I’ve never been to Manchester, but my support from United came from a number of my closest friends at school being United fans, so I found that we would talk about them more and I found myself paying more attention to their matches. I do also have a soft spot for Cheltenham Town, my local team in the football leagues. As for internationals, I am an England supporter, but I have found in recent years a bit of an apathy towards internationals and I have rarely watched outside of the Euros and World Cups.

American Football

me12189588_10153126166241332_5035862288422859710_nI’ve got family in America and went to visit them a couple of times as a kid, so vaguely remember watching some NFL games on TV when I was out there, but not really understanding what was going on. Then during secondary school one of my friends let me borrow Madden 04 and in learning to play the game, I fell in love with the sport. This love continued as I went to university and started watching games more often and making friends with a number of the uni’s American football team.

From those times I used to go to America, I remember us rushing home one day to watch the Tennessee Titans play back in the days where the late Steve McNair was at QB, so once I finally got into the sport they were always going to be the team I picked. Ironically, when I next went to see my family in the USA, it turned out that they are Cowboys fans and hate the Titans… oops! Too late!

cyc20180730_193504Road Cycling

I’m not even sure how, but I’ve really started enjoying watching the Grand Tours in recent years and also by extension some of the other televised races like the Tour of Britain and the Critérium du Dauphiné. It is a great example of teamwork seeing the domestiques working on behalf of their leaders and then the combination of tactical nous and sheer determination among the lead riders to race each other up climbs that make me shudder just watching on TV. Team Sky are my team and I really love a number of their riders including 2018’s Grand Tour winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, while I also really enjoy the Yates brothers and Mark Cavendish – so 2018 was a pretty good year for me!

Rugby League

I just love rugby in general! While I prefer union, I do also enjoy watching rugby league as it is generally a more fast-paced game than union. I really got into watching the Super League a few years back but I’m so busy these days I struggle to find the time to watch anything beyond the England matches and the odd big club game. For this reason I wouldn’t say I fully support a team, but I would say I have a soft spot for Canadian team Toronto Wolfpack, who were founded around the same time I started paying more attention to the sport.

Formula 1

I used to watch Formula 1 religiously when it was on terrestrial TV and I didn’t have such good access to pay-TV sports channels, but these days with the way the sport has come to rely on tyre degradation and pit strategies in order to win, I’ve largely gone off the sport – though I will still watch on occasion. Back from his early days at Mclaren, I’ve been a big fan of Kimi Räikkönen, while I also cheered for Jenson Button when he was in the sport and have found myself supporting Fernando Alonso for a number of years as he has tried to do his best in cars that are nowhere near the quality he deserves.

Cricket

For years I had no interest in cricket whatsoever, however I have found myself paying a bit more attention to the shorter forms like one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches. I will say thought that I have no real interest in the game beyond England matches and would struggle to watch a Test match live for more than a couple of hours, though I would watch a condensed highlights show.

Tennis

Another sport that I find myself watching less now that I have access to extra sports channels. It’s rare for me to watch much beyond Wimbledon, and even then it has often just been Andy Murray or Laura Robson’s matches in recent years. Back in the day though, I was also a big fan of Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick and also found myself cheering for Maria Sharapova back when there were no highly rated Brits in the women’s events.

Snooker

Much like tennis, the amount of snooker I watch has dropped off drastically as my options have opened up. I think the BBC show “Big Break” went a long way to helping stoke an interest in the sport when I was a kid and I have been lucky enough to watch in the heyday of Ronnie O’Sullivan! If I’m at home writing, I may have it on in the background, but its very rare I find myself watching these days.

Baseball

Not something that I usually watch but I do enjoy going to a couple of matches when I’m in the US. Despite having been bought Yankees, Cardinals and Rangers branded goods over the year, there’s no Major League teams that I would say I pay attention to, however I do try to keep up with how the Memphis Redbirds are doing in the Minor Leagues.

 

and finally…

MTS Rocha v Reilly 3The Movie Trivia Schmoedown

I know what you’re probably saying: “How is movie trivia a sport?!”… But the Schmoedown has done a great job of making it one. Taking a movie trivia quiz and combining it with WWE-style entertainment has created a wonderful product that I have fallen in love with! The show has become such a big part of my life and I even write for their website (links to all my articles can be found here) and if you want to know a bit more about this, you can find a piece I wrote over a year ago here.

Movember 2018: Day 30

Movember 2018: Day 30

And so, we reach the end. The 30ᵗʰ and final day of November means the end of Movember for another year. It may have only been 30 days and at times that feels like nothing, but then other times it feels like so much longer.

Movember updates 2018:

As always, I have really enjoyed taking part. As someone who can grow a pretty decent amount of facial hair in a couple of weeks, I’m always excited to grow the Mo this month, even if it does mean going clean shaven at the start of the month and showing off the chins, which I hate doing!

46902093_724278121288492_5756995561085468672_n.jpgA massive thank you to my fellow Mo-Bros in the office – Gaz and Mike – and everybody who has once again supported me and donated. There is still time to donate to our office’s fundraising efforts for Soft UK, who support families affected by Edward’s syndrome. If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!

20181130_110130Also you may have noticed the colourful shirt in my latest picture, which is an OddBalls product. OddBalls are a clothing brand that specialises is funky patterned clothing. They initially started with boxers but have widened their range to a number of underwear styles, socks, sportswear, sunglasses, shirts, towels, hoodies, pyjamas and more. While the products are fun and comfortable, the reason that I mention them now is that the sale of these products covers the running costs of the OddBalls Foundation, which is a charity that hopes to make a difference to men’s health all around the world.

Interested in buying some of their products? I am a brand ambassador and as such have a code for 10% off all orders. So if you want to put in an order head to their website www.myoddballs.com and use the discount code TIMOTHYETHERIDGEBALLS and get a bit of money off some great products.

Now as we prepare to enter December, the fun begins of growing out the Mo back into the beard, as well as beginning to make plans for Movember 2019…

Until next time!