Guest Author: It’s All Geek to Me by J.L. Merrow – Balls: which shape is best?

Posted February 13, 2014 by Shari in Book Tour, Guest Post / 24 Comments

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Balls: which shape is best?

Hi, I’m JL (Jamie) Merrow, and I’m here today as part of the It’s All Geek to Me blog tour.

Thanks so much for hosting me! J

Delighted Reader Giveaway

Giveaway: all commenters on the blog tour will be entered into a draw to win an ebook of their choice from my backlist, plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate. A winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, 17th February, 2014. Good luck! J

iagtmSo, balls: which shape do you prefer?

I’m talking, of course, about the age-old rivalry between rugby (played with pointy balls) and soccer (played with a spherical ball, and usually just called “football” in this neck of the woods.

Football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, and Rugby is a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen

–                 Origin unknown (and hotly disputed)

As the quotation indicates, there’s a lot more to the difference between the games than just the shape of the balls.

Football (soccer) is, in Britain, traditionally a working-class game. It’s what boys (and, increasingly, girls) in most state schools play, and it’s what you’ll most often see kids playing in the park, using a couple of sweaters as goalposts.

Rugby, by contrast, is a posh game, played in public schools (which, for the uninitiated, is what private schools are known as in Britain. There is a perfectly logical reason for this. Honest.)  I knew my son’s state school was a cut above the rest when I learned (a) it takes boarders; (b) the boys are forced to wear scratchy blazers that look like they’re made out of a bit of old horse blanket (seriously: they even smell like it in the rain); and (c) the boys play rugby, not football.

But the difference between the actual games is pretty much encapsulated in that quote, and at first sight it seems bizarre. Now, I’d be the first to admit I’m not exactly an expert on either sport. But here’s the difference as I see it.iagtm2

Football is a tactical game of skilled footwork and practiced teamwork. Rugby is a brutally athletic bunch of big bastards barging through the opposition. Some of the players wear headbands to stop their ears getting torn off, for God’s sake!

And here’s where I have to make a confession. I’ve been to football matches. They bored the pants off me. Even (don’t tell her!) the ones in which my daughter was playing. I thought it was perhaps because I’d never played the game myself, and didn’t appreciate the skills involved.

But then I went to Wembley and saw the Saracens play rugby. Again, a game I’ve never played, and I’m not even sure of the rules. But. Oh. My. God. Utterly exhilarating. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen twenty stone of pure muscle (with legs that could have moonlighted as Ents in The Lord of the Rings) lifted up six feet in the air by his teammates in a line out. And then there’s the tackles, where they all pile on top of one another and roll around in the mud. Not to mention the scrums: a dozen or so of these man-mountains, all bent over and cuddled up close with their arms around each other… Yep, it’s rugby all the way for me now.

But what do you think? Which balls do it for you—round, pointy, or some other shape? Or do you prefer no balls at all?

***

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

Review It's All Geek To Me by JL MerrowIt’s All Geek to Me

Jez is on a mission of mercy: to replace a tragically deceased comic book for his injured best mate, Tel. Venturing into the temple of geekdom itself, the Hidden Asteroid bookstore in London, Jez is bowled over by the guy behind the counter.

Rhys is the poster boy for hot geeks: tall, gorgeous, and totally cool. Jez is desperate to impress Rhys, but lacking in confidence after a bad break-up, so he bluffs his way through the comic book jargon—then dashes back to the hospital to beg Tel to teach him how to speak Geek.

Tel’s happy to oblige, and Jez is over the moon when Rhys asks him out. He’s even more thrilled when they discover a shared love of rugby, something he won’t have to fake for Rhys. The question is, how long can Jez keep up the deception—and what will happen when Rhys realizes he’s going out with Fake Geek Guy?

You can read an excerpt/purchase It’s All Geek to Me at: Riptide Publishing.

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Helena Justina
Helena Justina
6 years ago

It’s always been rugby for me, too, although I disagree that it is football which is more tactical. Rugby’s finer points may not be so obvious. I always found football mind-numbingly boring, too, until I watched some internationals with people who could explain the skill to me. But I would never watch it from choice.

I know you already appreciate the physique required for and developed by rowing; even better than rugby!

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago

Helena, I’d have to confess I’m coming from a position of complete ignorance, so I’ll bow to your superior knowledge on the subject of tactics! But oh, yes, rowing… 8 muscular men pumping away in unison! ;P

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

I confess to enjoying both, but not so much as my favorite American sport of baseball. LOL! I love the quote.

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Now baseball, I think I could relate to, as I’ve played rounders many a time. It’s odd we don’t really have anything like it in pro sports in the UK. Cricket is really, REALLY not the same! ;D

Ninna
Ninna
6 years ago

Grew up with soccer being played, but I agree it’s as boring as watching paint dry most of the time…. Never had a reason to be interested in rugby (more sport? Ugh) until I saw the dieux du stade calendars O.O yes, please. It seems that there’s more to this sport than nice bodies, though, and I would definitely like to see a match someday. I like that it seems a blend of soccer and football – more physical than soccer, less violent than football. You’ve made me wonder, though, how this relates to the book. Hmm. And I must… Read more »

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  Ninna

Heh, I’m not sure about rugby being less violent than American football – and don’t forget, there are no helmets or padding in rugby!
There’s a definite relation to the book – but I’m going to be incredibly mean and say: no spoilers! 😉

Ninna
Ninna
6 years ago
Reply to  JL Merrow

You mean meanie 😉
Will be looking forward to reading it. Thank you

KJ Charles
KJ Charles
6 years ago

OK, this makes you the *third* m/m author I know of who is a Saracens watcher! I have home season tickets and Charlie Cochrane has been a supporter for years. Do other m/m authors support other clubs or is it just something about the Sarries? And, on the subject, can I just point out that the no.10 Sarries sub (that’s substitute, not any other abbreviation) Ben Spencer is not just a points machine but has the kind of back view that deserves to inspire whole trilogies. Good grief. Anyway, yes, rugby is sexy as hell (that moment in the scrum… Read more »

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  KJ Charles

Maybe there’s just something about the Sarries that us m/m writers find particularly, um, inspiring? 😉
Although in my case, they’re the only team I’ve ever seen play live (well, apart from Toulouse, who they were playing against, obviously *g*.)
Scrums are good, but it’s definitely the line-outs that do it for me. So athletic! 🙂
And yes, people always talk about risks of injury to players, but they never think of the supporters, do they? It’s not just sore throats and lost voices; waving those flags all through the match can seriously make your arms ache! 😉

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  KJ Charles

Maybe there’s just something about the Sarries that us m/m writers find particularly, um, inspiring? 😉
Although in my case, they’re the only team I’ve ever seen play live (well, apart from Toulouse, who they were playing against, obviously *g*.)
Scrums are good, but it’s definitely the line-outs that do it for me. So athletic! 🙂
And yes, people always talk about risks of injury to players, but they never think of the supporters, do they? It’s not just sore throats and lost voices; waving those flags all through the match can seriously make your arms ache! 😉

Charlie Cochrane
Charlie Cochrane
6 years ago

The whole ethos is different. Supporters aren’t segregated, you can take your beer in the stand, there’s very little homophobia…
I was a huge footie fan until I discovered Saracens, and now, while I quite like listening to footie, I find it a bit boring to watch. Rugby is the beautiful game, in more ways than one.

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago

Absolutely. Passions at football matches can get a bit ugly; I didn’t see any of that when I went to see the Sarries. And yes, being able to take your drink in is a definite plus! 😉

Hanne
Hanne
6 years ago

Football bores me to tears – just don’t tell my 15 year old niece who’s really really good at it. Shhh! I’ve not yet watched a Rugby match so can’t say either yay or nay. Will have to check it out via interwebs as Rugby is not a televised sport in Norway (it’s either football or winter sports – yawn!) 🙂

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  Hanne

Heh, it’s difficult, isn’t it, when junior family members are involved in sports you can’t stand!
Definitely give rugby a go if you get the chance though – sooo much better than football! 🙂
(I actually kind of like watching winter sports on TV, in a totally not-following them way – I think I just like seeing sunny, snowy mountain scenes when I’m stuck here in the English drizzle!)

H.B.
H.B.
6 years ago

I’ve never heard that saying before. It’s interesting. i don’t really mind any of the balls really. I’m more use to seeing soccer and football (American) balls. I’ve never seen a rugby ball up close or even felt it.

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  H.B.

LOL! I’m not sure I’ve ever actually had my mitts on a rugby ball – when I was at school the gender divide in sports was absolute, so I was stuck playing jolly hockey sticks with the other girls. Then again, my school wasn’t posh enough for rugby in any case. 🙂

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

I confess to enjoying both, but not so much as my favorite American sport of baseball. LOL! I love the quote.

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Now baseball, I think I could relate to, as I’ve played rounders many a time. It’s odd we don’t really have anything like it in pro sports in the UK. Cricket is really, REALLY not the same! ;D

Charlie Cochrane
Charlie Cochrane
6 years ago

The whole ethos is different. Supporters aren’t segregated, you can take your beer in the stand, there’s very little homophobia…
I was a huge footie fan until I discovered Saracens, and now, while I quite like listening to footie, I find it a bit boring to watch. Rugby is the beautiful game, in more ways than one.

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago

Absolutely. Passions at football matches can get a bit ugly; I didn’t see any of that when I went to see the Sarries. And yes, being able to take your drink in is a definite plus! 😉

JL Merrow
JL Merrow
6 years ago

Absolutely. Passions at football matches can get a bit ugly; I didn’t see any of that when I went to see the Sarries. And yes, being able to take your drink in is a definite plus! 😉

H.B.
H.B.
6 years ago

I’ve never heard that saying before. It’s interesting. i don’t really mind any of the balls really. I’m more use to seeing soccer and football (American) balls. I’ve never seen a rugby ball up close or even felt it.