Episode 11.5


The Visual Episode: 

Being Black and Living in London featuring Harriet Small

by | Jun 22, 2020 | Episodes | 0 comments

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Kim 0:00
runner swimming coach and lover of rugby. Let’s talk being black and living in London featuring Harriet’s small.

Hey everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Run Wave Podcast. I am your host Kim and I have a very special guest today. Please welcome Harriet smalls to the show. Welcome, Harriet. Hi, thanks for having me, Kim. How are you?

Harriet 0:40
Good considering everything that’s going on. And last couple of weeks have been exhausting. But it’s getting better.

Kim 0:51
Yes, it’s been exhausting, I think for the whole world these last couple of weeks. So let’s introduce you To our audience, tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally.

Harriet 1:05
So I am originally my family immigrants from Uganda, and came to the UK when I was about one and a half. And that 1980 something most of my age and and I live in a part of London called Camberwell, which is southeast London, but it was really close to Central London. And that’s a little bit about where I’m from. And I also work in PR and communications. So that’s my day job. I’ve just recently finished working on the collapse of Thomas Cook for our regulator, so the regulator of the airline and travel industry. So that’s what I do day wise. And then by night, I’m a runner, and a fitness enthusiast. So say that you’re mildly

Kim 1:55
Yeah. So how did you start running What made you get into being becoming a runner.

Harriet 2:02
So, during but other schools, I went to boarding school and we were split into sort of houses. So in my house, I was known as the runner. So I would run everything from 100 meters right up to 10,000 meters. And I loved running. It was like my favorite thing. And then as the years went on, I stopped running as much. So last year, part of the work that I do in our industry is around increasing diversity of black and ethnic minorities. So I help a charity called the Taylor Bennett foundation. So one of their annual events to raise money is to do the Royal parks half marathon. Mm hmm. So I was asked to do it and I hadn’t run for a really long time, mostly been doing spin, gym work and everything else. So I started training to run and, and that was really, really interesting. I learned things about myself and other things about running the running community. It was, it was really eye opening how much I could challenge myself because I was really scared because I’d never run a half marathon before.And so that’s how I got into running recently.

Kim 3:15
Wow, wait, so when what year was this?

Harriet 3:18
Last year was my first half marathon? further side run was probably 10K, Previously.

Kim 3:26
so you just got back into running last year?

Harriet 3:29

Kim 3:29
And you jumped right into a half marathon?

Harriet 3:32

Kim 3:33
So how did that go for you? How long was your training process? And how did you build up to running 13.1 miles.

Harriet 3:42
I started off by having the schedule. Following the schedule. I did a lot of spin. I did a lot of strength training. So I really struggle with running outside so I had to push myself quite hard. And then that’s when I actually joined the adidas Running community because I was Struggling to like push myself to run by myself outside on the treadmill. It was easy because I’d put on a podcastso I could, I wouldwatch something and just run but then I knew if I’m going to do this, I have to be able to run outside. So joining the money community was really, really beneficial. Funny enough, nothing I did I read that stuff that was so interesting is I started volunteering at races. And I didn’t know that people volunteer basis to get free places into the next race because races are quite expensive. So what people do is they volunteer, so I volunteered for quite a few races in 2019 to 2020. I had loads of race faces, which now sort of another, it’s but that was also something I discovered along the way is the race day atmosphere, and how people sort of interact and come together. It was all part of the training and it was all sort of a good mental build up just seeing the way people do stuff during the races as well really helps me. Mm hmm. So that was part of my training. And, and then as I said the strength training was so important. So I did a lot of sort of spin that was so it was incredible. And a lot of weights, which sucked, which used to scare me quite a bit. So I’d always lift small, so the five and the sevens, then I was able to do squats on on lighter weights, which, which for me was incredible. It was a challenge, and I really, really enjoyed it. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I was able to sort of get through the race on race day. Just having that mantra in my head that is one step in front of the other, rather than thinking about it as it’s a half worth it.

Kim 5:49
Now, you mentioned that you volunteered for races to get race entries into other races. As London have like like a New York we have new york Road Runners. That’s working athletes on the marathon and they put on a bunch of races throughout the year does London have like a main organization like that that puts on your races.

Harriet 6:09
So our races are mostly put on by brands or by sponsors. So you’ve got major races put on by virgin sport, which is the Oxford half, you’ve got the Hackney half and you’ve got the 816 K. You’ve also got races that are put on by big brands. So for instance, Adidas had their flagship races, mostly 10 K’s although last year, they added in a half marathon, which Fingers crossed will happen in November. And then you also have big races which are put on by charities. So for example, Cancer Research UK puts on a massive race and they put on different races as well across the country, mostly five K’s and their targets. Towards fundraising for cancer research. So you’ve got a lot of those kind of races that happenacross London and then you’ve you’ve got the London math and as well, so you’ve got that the flagship Well,

Kim 7:13
That’s interesting because in the States, most races are put on by organizations. And they’ll have sponsors that, you know, supply the race shirts, maybe they’ll supply like Gatorade is a huge sponsor in the US. So that’s interesting. That’s difference between us racing and London racing. So we know each other through the Adidas runners community. I think we got in contact. I did a little promo for the New York City Marathon last year, and I think that’s how we got in contact with each other on Instagram. So how did you get involved with Adidas runners because I know every I like to ask a lot of Athena someone has asked already because everyone’s story is just so interesting. So how did you get involved with AR?

Harriet 8:03
So last year when I was looking for running gear, I went to the Adidas store in central London. And I was trying on trainers and I was really sort of struggling with the right shoes. And so one of the guys in the store said to me, Well, why don’t you join the mining club? Because you can try it on trainers there. And then you can figure out what works for your foot and what does it What are you talking about? And then he showed me the website and then I signed up. And the day I was supposed I was going, I was so scared. I’m so nervous. I thought, this is the running club for a major brand. Obviously, everybody’s gonna be able to run, they’re gonna leave me in the wind. It’s gonna be, you know, am I gonna fit in and all that kind of stuff was playing on my mind. And then I went along and everyone was nice. And, you know, we have this thing here where no one gets left behind. It was It was such a different atmosphere from what I was expecting. And I think if I let the initial fears and doubts stop me, I would have missed out on this incredible community. Because in addition here we have a bath London studio, which is run by the soul sisters. And it’s a fitness space. That’s women only. And it’s inclusive. We do classes with some of the top trainers. And there’s stuff in the morning in the lunchtime in the evenings. It’s just a wonderful space. So on top of the running, you’ve got this amazing fitness space that I can go to. Also, there’s the community, which is also just so many different people. It’s vibrant, it’s fun. It’s now become a part of my life. So yeah.

Kim 9:54
So what is the studio space? It’s a it’s a data branded space. And you guys have access to it for free.

Harriet 10:02
Yeah, so we have access to it for free. And it’s mostly fitness classes. So those tr x classes on there, we’ve got the normal sort of fitness classes. So you’ve got dance classes, depending on what’s been put on the soul sisters do their signature shreds. So there’s all different classes and then that’s where we run from as the AI ladies, the London ladies. So we do our sessions, mostly on a Wednesday evening, and on a Saturday morning, so that’s where we start from, and that’s where we finish. It’s just a amazing space. And then afterwards, we can do classes. It’s got shower facilities. So yeah, it’s it’s amazing space and it’s in the heart. It’s in the heart of shortage, which for London is sort of on its way on the cusp of the business district, but it also is really sort of trendy, artsy kind of Place of London.

Kim 11:01

Harriet 11:02
So yeah, this is a really cool spot where

Kim 11:05
you guys are lucky because we don’t have that in New York. We have like classes like they have mindset classes, we have parties we have get together as we have classes here and there. But we don’t have like a dedicated space just for classes. So you guys are really lucky. And when I visited Greece, they had a whole three story studio as well. So yeah, I think you guys in AR in Europe, you guys are like doing it up. I’m like, at what every time they say Europe, I’m like, hoping that there’s an AR location where I’m going so I can, you know, meet new people. And yeah, the AR community is just great. I mean, there’s, it’s amazing that we’re five hours apart right now, and we’re talking and we’re just able to connect with people all over the world. So I’m happy that we are both a part of that community and we were both benefiting from it.

So I always like to ask everyone what It type of sneakers they’re wearing because I am a sneaker head. I’m a girly girl, but I like sneakers as well. So what type? What type of sneakers? Are you running right now?

Harriet 12:10
So right now I’m running in the original ultra beast. Mm hmm. That’s the funniest thing is that the what I had a pair last year that I ran my half marathon in. And then my mum asked me for them. So I gave them to her. And then I continued running in my Ultra Boost, and nine teens, but then I just didn’t feel comfortable. I felt like I was missing that shoe that gave me my half marathon. So I went out and got a pair of the original ones and I’m running in those at the moment. But I do mix it up. I mean, my training shoes are different from my running shoes. So I always train in Nike zooms, not the new ones, the old ones. So I have a mixture.

Kim 12:54
Okay,yeah, I’ve run into a I just switched back to Ultra Boost ls. I really like the lightweight Speakers but I was having a lot of Shin problems. So I had to switch back to Ultra Boost for that added cushion, but I’m enjoying them and they have a lot of good flavors out now. So I get to batch them up on my outfits and look cute while I’m running. So you did that half marathon? You said that was last year?

Harriet 13:19

Kim 13:20
Okay, so have you done a lot of racing after that? Or do you have a favorite race that you’ve done today?

Harriet 13:27
So I was supposed to do that in the hearts, which was in May. I was supposed to do the Adidas 10 K. And but Funny enough, the added us 10 K, which was posted you got turned into a virtual race during the pandemic when COVID started so it was turned into a virtual which was really cool. It was supposed to be a white so they did it as a one hour. I don’t know that. You’ve heard of that before. So it’s a one hour race and it’s how far can you run in an hour. So that was really fun. So I did that. During lockdown, but I think my favorite race today, funnily enough, is actually the cancer research five K, Mm hmm. I did, I did one in 2011. And I absolutely loved everyone was pink. And it’s just such a fun atmosphere is exciting. You know it and you know you’re doing it for a great cause there’s so much emotion, but then it’s emotion for emotion that’s placed in something that’s going to move things forward. There’s people there raising money for cancer research and a lot of the people who run it have been affected by cancer themselves, or they’ve had family have been affected or friends. And it’s just such an amazing warm base to be a part of, even though it’s not the most beautiful in terms of the route, depending on which part of London you choose, but it is just an incredible atmosphere for me.

Kim 14:56
So you can do different routes on the race.

Harriet 14:59
So they do them in different locations. And you pick and choose which one you want to do. So you can do one in central London and you can do one in other parts of London. So for example, there’s one that’s done in Blackheath, which is a really nice part of South London. That’s a massive Park and green space. So they were in all different places, and they’ve got them all over the country. So you just choose which one you want to do. Yeah,

Kim 15:26
Interesting. Okay, so let’s, we’re going to get onto the topic of today’s discussion. So we’re talking being black and living in London and being a black runner in London. So first, I want to I just came across this classification saying, I don’t know how I would describe it, but its BAME B.A.M.E.. So tell me a little bit about what that means to you or in general.

Harriet 15:58
So BAME It is a new classification of how black Asian and ethnic minorities are classified in the UK. It’s quite controversial because a lot of people find that the term lumped everybody in as one rather than separating people out with their nuances. So, London’s quite interesting in the makeup of its ethnic minorities, it’s 59% white. However, you’ve got a massive percentage of Asians who are made up by Pakistani Indian, Bangladesh, Bangladesh, Chinese, Vietnamese communities. Then you’ve got black, which is black Caribbean, which is the Jamaican community. Trinidad and Tobago, you’ve got St. Lucia, you’ve got all these different communities who identify as black Caribbean, and then you’ve got black African. And so the feeling is is that when you lump everybody together as other and you name them Bane, you take away all those separate nuances. So for example, me being a black African, I don’t have the same cultural context of London as somebody who is black Jamaican whose parents came over here in the Windrush the same way somebody who is a bit nummies won’t have the same nuance or context or understanding of the UK as me. So it’s almost a a one brush, but then you lose all the wonderful texture within that layer. Once you’ve brushed over it with the term BAME Yeah,

Kim 17:44
How would I mean, I know in America, like, they like to call all black people, African American and everyone’s not African American. You know, they’re, I have a lot of friends from the Caribbean, different islands and they classify themselves as island that they’re from, or they’re just black. So is there like when you meet different people? Are they like, how would you classify yourself? If someone asked you What’s your race?

Harriet 18:12
So I would, okay, I would say I’m black. But then if I meant talking to my friends, I will then break it down. So if I’m with my Nigerian friends, or my Korean friends, I’ll say I’m a Ugandan. Or you say you’re a British born. So because I’m not British one, I don’t really say it, but a lot of other people say, I’m British born black. So it varies. I mean, the thing as well is that many of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, we have a strong connection and identity to our countries of origin. So for example, I speak my mother tongue. I speak several languages in Uganda because also in school over there, so I speak several languages over there. I know how to finish from over there, there’s so much connection that I wouldn’t even think about erasing that. And I know like when I speak to my friends who are going in Nigeria and South Africa, you know, we all consider ourselves, the country that we’re from or that we’re born. And we also consider the country that our parents are from. So it’s that struggle to hold on to part of our identity. And I think there’s those books that have been written about about it, and there’s a lot of conversations that have been had, but I think from my standpoint, I will always consider myself Ugandan. And first before I consider myself British.

Kim 19:47
Now, you mentioned some people classify themselves as British black. So if there if someone asks them their ethnicity, they’re saying I’m British black is there like Is there like a class system a class system that someone was saying, I’m British black? I said, I’m just black. I mean, you’re obviously British. But why would they say I’m British black?

Harriet 20:11
So normally it’s Yes, normally they say I’m black British, which is there. My say, I’m, I’m born here, but I’m black. So for example, if I had children, they and they were born here. And they were raised here, they would probably say, I’m black British, which means I identify as British and black. And so that’s more common. But I think it’s, it comes back down to how much attachment Do you have to the origin from which you came from? So for me, I, I can I can say, if somebody asked me I’ll say I’m British. I’ve got British passport. But if you really wanted to ask me I was me Ugandan because that’s where I was. have most of my attachment from? I mean, I’ve got. So whenever I speak to kids or young people, you ask them, you know, if I’m in there, I’m British. And then you delve deeper and they say, I’m black British, and then it’s, then you delve deeper. And then you find out that their, their parents are from somewhere else, and they were born here. And so that’s how they identify.

Kim 21:22
Being an American and just looking at London, we don’t see a lot of like imagery of black people on the shows that we watch from, like the only black shows that I’ve watched based in London was Luther, which I loved. I just saw gangs of London, which is not really blackface but they’re black characters in that show, but that show was I just watched it like a couple weeks ago, so I was addicted to that show. And let’s the other show that I watch. There are many but all the movies that I saw like Love Actually there’s like no black people represented like in those movies that you find that are there a lot of a lot of black representation in media, like celebrity wise, I know a few celebrities that have crossed over to America, but I really, I don’t know, what is the representation like?

Harriet 22:16
So, talk about representation Actually, it’s quite interesting because I worked at Sky which which featured the Gangs of London show and, and I actually spoke to the guy who commissioned it and I was saying, you know, thank you for putting on because a lot of times, we are always written in as additional characters. We’re not part of the center of everything. So growing up, we had some shows we had, for instance, we had a show called Desmond’s which was all about a barber shop, and he was guy knees, and they were all mostly black characters. And, and Desmond’s was working really hard to then provide for your family, and then go back home and settle them. representation is changing. However, it’s a slow, it’s a slow burner. And for us, I think we’ve always looked at America, whether that be going up, we looked at things like fresh pen Sister, sister, you know, we looked at brandy, we looked at all those things. And we saw what we weren’t seeing here. So for many of us, we grew up on the American shows and the American movies. However, things are changing, I mean, our soaps have become more diverse. So we have soaps here. So we have the main soaps, which is EastEnders Hollyoaks, Coronation Street, they are changing, but it’s a slow change. And mainstream comedy is changing. So we’ve got amazing comedians here like maybe the comedian, we’ve got Judy love, we’ve got so many others, but it’s slow and for many of them, it’s It’s a case of starting off on the really small stages and then working their way up as the background ads or doing things on YouTube. And I think the next generation that’s going to come up will be luckier because a lot of the doors have been open for them. But even if you look at things like television presenting, I mean, there’s still lack of representation. You look at things like sports pundits and commentators use readers and growing up the only newsreader. I remember watching. There was only two there was Trevor McDonald. So it’s it’s slow. But it but it’s changing gradually.

Kim 24:43
Mm hmm.

Harriet 24:45

Kim 24:45
The running groups in London. I’m following a few running groups, but what is their diversity in the running groups and I know when I started running, I joined an all black woman running group because All of the other running groups, they were like competitive running groups and white. Quite honestly, there wasn’t many people of color in those groups. So I really didn’t have a lot of options to meet up with other runners that look like me in New York in 2012, which is still sounds crazy to me. So what is the the makeup of running groups in London? I know AR is the diverse, but how is it outside of AR?

Harriet 25:30
So it’s actually really interesting to bring that up because we have a campaign here called this girl cab. So it’s fun by sport, England, which is our sort of governing body for sports. And they’ve been doing a lot of research into physical activity in different groups, men and women based on disability based on class in terms of income, and they’ve got their statistics came out with Southeast Asian and black People’s the least active. So it’s really interesting when you go to the running groups, a lot of them are white dominated a lot of the coaches, a lot of the trainers, it’s only when you have the ones by the big brands, so for example, Adidas like budget that you start to see representation, but most of the other ones, it’s mostly white. And I can understand why. Because when you look at sports in this country and you look at the sporting boards, you look at the governing boards, a lot of them are white dominated. I mean, we had a report come out just a couple of days ago. And out of all the boards, whether you look at tennis, whether you look at football, whether you look at athletics, you look at rugby, you look at golf, the representation of black people is next to nothing. So Even though young people are seeing personalities of black and few Asian on TV, that that’s not then translated into what they’re doing in their daily activity. Yeah, I mean, you go for races so I remember when I was in the pen for the half marathon I did. I was the only black person until another vana came in. And because she does a lot of races, could Adrian and that was when I started to feel comfortable. But up until that point, I was just the only black person in that sort of waiting area. And it was actually quite scary. You know, you look around, you don’t see anyone who looks like you and you start to think should I actually be here?

Kim 27:55
And you know, running, it’s just, we’re even in the US. I mean, I can I travel a lot Up to different states to do races and oftentimes me and my friend, whoever I’m with, we’re like, two, maybe a handful. And we know it’s a handful because every time we run by each other we say hello. And there’s not that many hellos going around. So it’s interesting that the dynamic is kind of the same in America as it is in London in regards to race and running. So I wanted to talk to you about the protests because you know, it’s been like a hard few weeks here in America we had the the murder of a runner name of a Ahmaud Arbery who was out jogging and he was terrorized he was chased he was gunned down by a father son duo. Then we had a George Floyd who was a victim of police brutality, brutality. I’m sure you’ve seen the video. And additionally, Breonna Taylor, who was also shot and killed her own home by the police. So what is I mean, they’re protesting in London. I saw them take down a statue of Robert Milligan and you just being in America, but I wouldn’t think, well, I’ll let you you talk about it. But is there police brutality in London as well? Are you guys experiencing something similar there?

Harriet 29:25
So police brutality in London has always existed. It’s it’s not new. I mean, we’ve had famous cases here like Cynthia Jarrett. And we had a couple of years ago, we had Mark Southern who was killed by the police. And then subsequently, we had the London riots. And so there’s, there’s a history of it. There’s cases well documented. And when I was young, we had the killing of Stephen Lawrence, which was a racially motivated attack and then the subsequent failures by the police to bring the perpetrators to justice was huge. So for us, there’s been a history of it. I mean, even during this pandemic, we’ve seen it. So one of the things I think, to give context is that we’ve we had a report come out over here, about the disproportionate deaths of black and Asian ethnic minorities, and to COVID we had a black woman who was spat on, she worked on the chain. So she was she was a transport worker, she was spot on. And then subsequently, she died of COVID. And the police close the case. So all those things adding on to what’s happening in America. It’s almost like you’re adding fuel to an already burning fire, which was happening over here. So and the thing is, is with racism over here, it’s not All over. It’s very backhanded. It’s it’s comments, it’s structural, it’s, it’s more put in place. It’s not that where someone’s going to call you a words out to your face. I mean, those instances do exist. I mean, we’ve got far right groups that exists, but in most cases is very much microaggressions. And it’s very much about having barriers in place that stop people from accessing certain things. And so, I think those little things that need to be really thought about, and then we’re also coming off what has been a long road with Brexit. So leaving the European Union and how that campaign was run a lot of the messaging around that campaign. So there’s all those factors that you’ve got to take into consideration when you look at the protests and where we’ve come from over the last few years.

Kim 32:01
Yeah, I mean I think, um, you know, most of my audience is based in America. So I think what we see, we don’t see much Actually, I don’t see much of what’s going on there. So it’s, it’s, it’s interesting to see that you will have some of the same struggles that we are having here. And you know, we’re different, but we’re the same. Yeah, I want to talk about your experience as a swimming coach, which is awesome because you don’t see a lot of black swans. I mean, I’m, I’m a swimmer because you know, I do triathlons. I’ve been swimming my whole life, but we don’t see many black swim coaches. So how did you get into that?

Harriet 32:44
So I swam as a child. So my mum, and my dad always hated swimming, loved it, and, and just kept going with it. And it was something that never left me. So when I finished secondary school, And I needed a university job. I went and got a job in our local leisure center as a receptionist. And so they said, Oh, and you can swim so you can train become a lifeguard. So I trained and I became a lifeguard in my first six months after that, oh, you change and become a teacher in this communication. Okay. So change did that. So, from around 2005, for about four or so years, I was a swimming teacher and a swimming coach. And so it was an incredible experience. But again, it’s, it’s it was interesting, because a lot of the adults that used to come for me to teach them were mostly black. They never learned how to swim. And it was interesting because my mom had learned how to swim when she was older. So I could empathize with them and I could understand why they why they felt that they didn’t have swim. And they used to say to me things like, Oh, I can’t float. We’ve always been told that black people can’t float and I said dish can free You just need to know, you just need to know the technique. And so there’s a lot of misconceptions within the black community around swimming. I mean, there are the struggles around the hair and the skin with the chlorine. But overall, it’s an incredible, incredible exercise. It’s really good for mindfulness. It’s so one thing you can do without even looking at your phone. So you just swim up and down. You don’t even need your phone. And so it’s, it’s very freeing. So I taught swimming lessons for schools. And the good thing is that, for me, I live in an area that’s one of the London boroughs that’s got a high population of black and Asian children in schools. It was really good for them to see me teaching them how to swim up to now, when some of them are about 1617. And I still see them and they’re like, You taught me how to swim. So yeah, absolutely loves it. Yeah.

Kim 34:56
And we have that in common because I when I was in high school, I actually trained to be a lifeguard as well. And I used to teach swimming lessons as well when I was younger. So we have that in common as well. But it’s crazy because when I like swim in train, it’s it’s like, I’m the only one in the pool. You know, in my neighborhood, my pool is in my neighborhood, and I’m still the only one in the pool, which is crazy. And like, when I do a Master’s some class, there’s maybe two of us three the most in the pool. So it’s, I think in in the States, it’s like a matter of its economic. And it’s also a matter of access, because there just aren’t a lot of pools in New York City. I mean, I have a pool in my neighborhood, but we just don’t have a lot of access. And I actually learned how to swim by by going to summer camp every summer. So that’s where I hone my skills, but it’s interesting that I mean, we’re still limited to this day, I always hear that excuse of I don’t want to get my hair wet. And I use it myself too because I should be swimming more and I don’t because I don’t want to get my hair wet. But yeah, it’s great that you that as part of your background is awesome that you are a swim instructor and you’re helping you know, older adults like hone their skills and develop a new skill that is gonna definitely benefit them in the future. So I let’s talk about you being a rugby fan. Now I had to Google where rugby was because in my mind, I thought rugby was Polo. You know when they’re on the horse with the mallet. But only let me Google where rugby is before we talk about this. So what is rugby? I saw the guys running with a bowl and what what is rugby and why are you a fan of rugby because it looks dangerous? Why do you like it?

Harriet 37:00
So it’s really just it’s I’ve suffered rugby when I was about 14. So I was in school I had just so we’re doing our house competitions, ones I explained earlier. And I had just finished up running and I was with my friends chilling. And I saw my first ever game of rugby. Some of my friends were playing other guys if one of my friends broke his leg that day. And I just fell in love with the sport, like watching them run across the pitch with the ball and people tackle and I was just like, wow, it’s incredible. I absolutely fell in love with it. So I’ve been following rugby since then. And, and fortunately, I come from a country that plays rugby with Uganda. So we’ve won an African championship. We’ve had some amazing coaches over the years. And so I just love and I am a big fan of the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks. But what’s really funny and what I struggle with, is this misconception that I shouldn’t be a rugby fan. And and it’s because I’ve really struggled to support England over the years, because there’s always the question of why do you know about rugby? Like, cuz you don’t know about rugby?

Do women play rugby? You know, next year we’ve got a Women’s World Cup. And a lot of people are so confused as to why everyone’s talking about Rugby World Cup next year. And it’s because world rugby actually removed the gender naming of it. So how some sports football for example, they’ll say, Women’s Soccer World Cups of world rugby removed the gender naming, so whether my says people are going to read the World Cup, and year next year was that we just had one last year, like no, this is the women’s one. So I absolutely love rugby. I mean, some of my best friends are going to be players. And I understand the sport and there’s a it’s so detailed, and a nice A lot of representation within the sport that’s come up in the last couple of years. I mean, the other day, I was listening to one of the record podcasts on BBC five live and they had some incredible players talking about race and rugby, and it’s an even here and where I’m from Uganda, it’s still a very elitist sport. So it’s still a very kind of private school and sort of grammar school kind of sport where the parents have to pay a lot of money because you’re gonna get injured, a lot of training. So there is that aspect to it. But it is a beautiful game. I absolutely love it. I love watching the tackles, the runs the kicking, you know, the scrums? The line outs just, it’s exciting. I don’t I don’t watch football, like normal what you guys call soccer and I’m just like, Okay.I don’t see. Okay,

how hard was that? But then when I went up, and you see the way which to like, they have this thing called phases and people just try and ball forward and forward and forward and forward. You know, the passing, all those things just excite me. But then there’s also that side of it, where if I go for matches, or I go for events and people start questioning, you actually hear from the sport. You know, some people think I was introduced to rugby because I dated somebody who was a record player. Some people think I don’t even understand the sport, I just um talk about it. You know there’s all those misconceptions around a black women, um, just sort of being a fan, not being an ex player. So I’ve never played the sport, but some people think I’ve played it because I love it so much. Um, and I think for me, one of my biggest struggles over the last year and a half, I’ve really been thinking about the women’s game. Women’s rugby is massive, but its not yet fully professional and I think one of the things I would love to be apart of or even see move is the womens game being taken much more seriously. So the same way women’s tennis is taken seriously thats what I want to see for women’s rugby. So for me thats like, my thing that I just love.


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