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!

Movember 2018: Day 22

Movember 2018: Day 22

Hey guys! So it’s been a longer than planned but I’m back with a Movember update! We’re two thirds of the way through the month and that means there’s just over a week left to go of Movember.

Movember updates 2018:

Now part of the reason I have been doing less updates than I hoped is that I had some time off work at the start of the month to use up my holiday, so getting back into the swing of things with work, combined with watching a lot of rugby for my write-ups of the Autumn Internationals and working on some articles for the Schmoedown’s new website, has taken up a lot of my time!

The good thing about going back into work though was finding 2 of my colleagues were joining me for Movember this year. Now I would happily be the only one in the office doing it but having some fellow Mo-bros taking part – especially in these days when so many people are quite protective of their beards and don’t like going back to a naked chin – makes Movember so much more fun. So without further ado I give to you the Zurich trio taking part in Movember: myself, Mike and Gaz.

We are all raising funds as part of our office’s fundraising this year 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!

Movember 2018: Day 8

Movember 2018: Day 8

Hi guys, so we’re just over a week into November and that means I’m far enough into Movember to be able to style the Mo.

Movember updates 2018:

mov20181108_105237Now some people may see growing the ‘tache for a month as a bit of fun, and admittedly it is, but there is a more serious side to this. According to Cancer Research UK:

  • There are around 2,300 new testicular cancer cases in the UK every year
  • In males in the UK, testicular cancer is the 17th most common cancer
  • There are around 60 testicular cancer deaths in the UK every year, that’s around 1 every week
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all men with testicular cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around 8 in 10 men when diagnosed at the latest stage

 

  • There are around 47,700 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s around 130 every day
  • In males in the UK, prostate cancer is the most common cancer
  • There are around 11,500 prostate cancer deaths in the UK every year, that’s 31 every day
  • Prostate cancer accounts for 13% of all cancer deaths in males in the UK
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all men with prostate cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than a third of men when diagnosed at the latest stage

Also from a variety of mental health websites:

  • In 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were male and 22% were female
  • 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
  • In a 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum
    • 34% would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for mental health concern such as anxiety or depression compared to 13% for a physical injury
    • 38% would be concerned that their employer would think badly of them if they took time off work for a mental health concern – compared to 26% for a physical injury

If these stats don’t show the importance of charities like the Movember Foundation, then I don’t know what will!

But this year I am raising money for Soft UK, so I also want to give you some stats about Edward’s Syndrome:

  • It occurs in about one out of every five-thousand births
  • Approximately 90-95% of children born with Edward’s Syndrome die prior to their first birthday
  • The average lifespan for half of the children born with Edward’s Syndrome is less than two months

If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!

Movember 2018: Day 1

Movember 2018: Day 1

Hey guys, Halloween is now over and we are into one of my favourite times of the year: Movember. Movember is a charity event that is close to my heart and I have been taking part in it for about 7 years now (the header picture on this page is from the Pistol Shrimps’ Movember social the first year that I took part).

For those who don’t know what Movember is, it is when men around the globe start November clean shaven and spend the month growing and cultivating a moustache, raising money for charity and awareness for men’s health. For more details on what Movember is and why it is so important to me take a look at my overview page, as this post is going to be more of a Mo-gression update.

20181101_102838So… Day 1. As someone who usually has a beard, it’s safe to say my face has been pretty cold today!

 

Now usually I would be raising money for the Movember foundation, but this year I am doing things a little different. While I will still be raising awareness towards men’s health, this year I am instead asking for donations to Soft UK as part of our fundraising at work.

We are fundraising for Soft UK as they supported one of our colleagues and his wife after their unborn daughter was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome.

Edwards Syndome (Trisomy 18) is a Chromosome disorder diagnosed before a baby is born. Parents who receive a diagnosis for their baby are faced with making complex and difficult decisions. Sadly, the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth is high but of the babies who do survive pregnancy, almost 1 in 10 live to celebrate their 1st birthday.

 

If anyone wants to donate, our office’s fundraising page can be found here. Any donations, big or small, will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading guys, keep an eye out for my Mo-gression updates throughout the month!

Fantasy Time – Gallagher Premiership

Fantasy Time – Gallagher Premiership

About a year ago, I wrote about how important technology is to sport these days, not just for the game itself but also for fan enjoyment and interaction. One area of technology that I brought up was fantasy leagues.

Now as a big sports fan, I love to get involved in fantasy leagues! They’re a great chance to test – and improve – your knowledge of a league, and also a great opportunity to have banter and discussions with your friends and other people within your league. I know I’ve spent entire lunch breaks discussing the right fantasy line-up on a regular basis!

For those who have never done a fantasy league before, there are a number of different sites out there with slightly different rules, but the general idea is this: Friends join a league with each other and pick their individual teams using the players in the league. Each site will give a fantasy manager a starting budget and each real-life player has a cost, which will change over the season with fluctuations in form and the percentage of managers selecting them. Each gameweek, the selected players will earn points dependant on their real-life performance (points scored for goals, points lost for cards etc). Some leagues will put you 1v1 against someone else in your league with points for a victory similar to the actual league, whereas others will create a league table using each manager’s cumulative gameweek points.

After taking part in ESPN’s Fantasy 6 Nations for years, I’d always wanted to give one a go for the Premiership and by chance I found one last year on The Rugby Magazine! To say I loved it is an understatement as it is probably one of the deepest fantasy games I’ve done. To mimic the league, fantasy managers (you can call yourself pretty much any role in your club, from Director of Rugby to Head Chef!) are given a budget of £7 million, with which then can sign as many players as they want, provided they have at least 28 players and someone in each position. Each week, you must then pick a starting line-up and an 8-man bench (4 forwards, 4 backs), assigning players to the positions the game recognises them as playing (it’s generally quite forgiving in terms of a player’s versatility). Managers must then pick a captain for double points and a kicker, who will be the only person to gain points for kicks off the tee.

This year, like on the Premier League fantasy football, I have created a league and I’m putting out an open invitation for anyone who wants to join. Again, I’ve left this to the last minute (sorry) as I’m horribly unorganised. The first deadline is 19:30 on 31st August. This league is purely for fun and everyone is welcome, so feel free to invite your friends too!

Interested? The site can be found here and my league’s unique token is 429eb544c2c9

Fantasy Time: Premier League

Fantasy Time: Premier League

Almost a year ago, I wrote about how important technology is to sport these days, not just for the game itself but also for fan enjoyment and interaction. One area of technology that I brought up was fantasy leagues.

Now as a big sports fan, I love to get involved in fantasy leagues! They’re a great chance to test – and improve – your knowledge of a league, and also a great opportunity to have banter and discussions with your friends and other people within your league. I know I’ve spent entire lunch breaks discussing the right fantasy lineup on a regular basis!

For those who have never done a fantasy league before, there are a number of different sites out there with slightly different rules, but the general idea is this: Friends join a league with each other and pick their individual teams using the players in the league. Each site will give a fantasy manager a starting budget and each real-life player has a cost, which will change over the season with fluctuations in form and the percentage of managers selecting them. Each gameweek, the selected players will earn points dependant on their real-life performance (points scored for goals, points lost for cards etc). Some leagues will put you 1v1 against someone else in your league with points for a victory similar to the actual league, whereas others will create a league table using each manager’s cumulative gameweek points.

For years now, I have been using the Premier League’s official fantasy football site and this year have decided to create a league for all of us to enjoy. This is purely for fun (and I’m not just saying this because I expect to be towards the bottom of the table) and everyone is welcome!So feel free to join and invite your friends too!

Interested? The site can be found here and the league PIN is 1313231-748510

Obviously, I am horribly unorganised and have left this to the vary last minute, so sorry about that! The league opener is tomorrow evening so to be involved from the start you will need to hurry, but you can join at any point, I doubt it will take you long to pass me! I’ll even give you a look at my squad (at time of writing) to give you some starting ideas.

footballfantasy