Now that the clocks have changed and good weather is upon us, it feels like it's time to work off that winter fat by engaging in some outdoor pursuits. Surely our fair city has a wealth of opportunities for those willing to shun the pub and the joypad? Whenever Londonist goes for a stroll around town, we invaribly stumble across a group of fresh-faced enthusiasts engaged in some kind of rigourous individual or team activity, and it looks like they might actually be enjoying it! But where does one start? How does the average Londoner get involved in such pastimes? Is there a secret password or is it just a case of nervously approaching these people and saying "Please Sir, can I play?".
There has to be a way in. And we see it as our job to find it. Over the summer months, Londonist will be getting the lowdown on a range of team and individual sports and activities and letting you know how YOU can move the can of Pringles to one side, get off your lardy arse and engage with London's green spaces (the ones that are still left behind).
First up is Touch Rugby. For many people, mention the word 'rugby' and they immediately shudder as they recall base young men with nicknames like 'donk' and 'peanut', pouring 'red beer' down their throats and removing their clothes in the student's union bar. They now wear chinos and pullovers and swan around Putney or F'lam and......anyway, enough about them. Touch is actually widely played throughout London and is a fast, fun game played by both men and women. It's currently dominated by our antipodean friends, but apparently they don't mind the English joining in as well. We caught up with Chris Wilson from London Touch Rugby and asked her a few questions.....
Hello there, can we please have your age, occupation, where you are from and where you are now?
I’m 34 and I’m a Company Director for a Travel & Tour Company. I’m originally from New Zealand and I now live in London.
Right then, surely touch rugby is just about a bunch of Aussie ‘larrikins’ in singlets getting together in the park, drinking stubbies and throwing a footy around. Tell me I’m wrong.
London Touch Rugby was created in the late 80’s for those travelling Kiwis & Aussies to wile away the long English summer evenings and rightly give them a good excuse to drink during the week….. not much has changed since then, apart from the 12 teams that we started with has now increased to 150 teams.
Do you have to be an Aussie or a Kiwi to take part? Is there room for my pasty English skin?
Anyone can participate – the English are definitely welcomed, it makes a change to slate them at something we invented.
Yes yes, change the frickin' record please. Is it violent? Will I get bruised on the hard grass of the summer? If I’m so inclined, can I ‘nail’ a member of the oppo, like Josh Lewesy on Matt Rogers? Grrrrrrrrr.
It's only violent if you arrive late and then you suffer my wrath, mind you some people, for reasons only known to them, take “muppet” pills before the game and all of a sudden think they are trailing for the “wankers only” team and believe that the only way of getting the selectors attention is shoulder charging the opposition. Retaliation is frowned upon but hey if you get a cheeky uppercut in.......
Blimey! So how do I get involved?
Hanging out with Kiwis & Aussies will usually do it (ask the Office Temp or hang at the Redback, or a Walkabout).
You wouldn't catch me in one of those places, far too raucous...I lunch at The Ivy you know. Anyway, which nation’s players are the best then?
As a Kiwi it’s hard to admit, but the Aussies are pretty sharp at this game, which is even more reason to dislike them.
Quite. Are the Lions going to win the test series against the All Blacks?
No Way – we have a plan!
If you insist. What's your favorite bar or restaurant?
Hole in the Wall – Chiswick. Great food, an awesome beer garden, well-stocked bar and the service is excellent
Sounds good. What advice would you give Ken Livingstone?
Buy a house on Uxbridge Road and then tell me the Tram is a good idea.
Fair enough. What London place or thing would you declare a landmark?
Hmmmm....insightful. Let's see if you can do better with this one. The world is ending in 24 hours. How would you spend your last day in London?
Causing a slow lingering death to Ken Livingston and traffic wardens.
Cripes! And finally, have you ever been sick on the tube?
I think we all have, haven't we. Haven't we? A mate of mine was once sick through his fingers on a Central Line train, it sprayed everywhere!! Ha Ha Ha....hmmmmm....oh dear. Right, thank you very much and good afternoon.
Right then, looks like we better try it out ourselves. Watch this space.