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
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
So, 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.
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.
It’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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