As we now know, Autumn is a good time of year for me partly because of the TV viewing on offer. One of my highlights this Autumn will be the Rugby World Cup. Apologies American readers, I know you have your own version, but I can't help but love the way our boys basically fight each other (usually in a lot of mud) for a ball that isn't even round. I'm afraid I don't have much time for English football (soccer), never have. It winds me up when overpaid young boys trip over and clutch at their ankle with agonised expressions - you don't get any of that nonsense on a rugby pitch. There's a "blood bin" an acknowledgement that at some time during the battle, somebody will probably be bleeding to unpleasant proportions and have to go off the pitch - not for the rest of the match though, just until a couple of butterfly stitches and some Vaseline have stemmed the flow, then he'll be right back out their grappling for that ball as if his life depended on it. Primal. Brilliant. And such a joy to watch men doing what they obviously enjoy and do well: running, pushing and shoving, jumping and skidding on mud, posturing, then when they've got it all out of their system in the eighty minutes allotted, they all shake hands and have a bath together. Great.
Thinking of posturing, another great but slightly overlooked male arena is ballroom dancing. When my friends first encouraged me to watch Strictly Come Dancing, I was pretty sure that it would all be a bit naff and namby. How wrong I was! I've loved watching contemporary dancing for years, so I wasn't such a Neanderthal that I didn't appreciate the strength of male dancers, but those ballroom blokes doing the Paso Doble was pretty impressive...
Don't even get me started on the female professional dancers...My goodness, what bodies?! I'm not jealous, because that would be futile and might imply that I had even an ounce of the discipline and dedication they have to achieve that tone, not to mention the length of the legs - you've either got them or you haven't. I can't comment on female rugby players because I haven't seen them on TV, whereas toned women in lots of make-up wearing next-to-sequinned-nothing, I have.
I suppose for either gender dancing is not unlike rugby, you've got to think about where you're going, be pretty light on your feet but also strong so that you don't get knocked over, fall over or squashed.