Listening to the podcast with Tom and Tiff, then with Mat Tait, makes you realise the world is not such a bad place after all. It’s a pretty humbling place though.
Brexit, politics, disorder and disobedience tend to dominate the headlines, cheating and bad behaviour in sport get as much coverage as success and achievement. Regular news bulletins make you question what the world actually looks like.
Back at Tigers, we know times are not good, the natives are becoming restless, the pressure is ramping up and everyone has a view on where things have gone wrong.
But listening to Tom, Tiff and Taity makes you realise these are special people. It is evident they come from special families and, you’d like to think rugby plays a part in that. They are the epitome of what the rugby family is all about.
Tom and Tiff have obviously been through tough times – the kind you would not wish on anyone, no matter how strong they are mentally and physically – but their outlook on life and their obvious preference for looking out for others is genuinely moving. “That’s the way we have been brought up,” Tom told Greg Bateman on the Tigers podcast and if they are indeed a reflection of their families then their families deserve enormous credit too.
Talking about his role as club captain and his ambitions for the team, Tom describes how he wants newcomers to appreciate what wearing the club colours means and says: “You can Google ‘Leicester Tigers’ but there is more to it than that.” This is not a man who takes his responsibilities lightly, in rugby or away from it.
Tait, who has just announced his retirement, is a deep thinker, a voice of reason and also engaging company.
It is well worth re-living his tale, from his league debut as a schoolboy to England international in six months, the Henson ‘incident’ as he calls it, a Commonwealth Games, a World Cup Final, a Premiership title and enforced retirement. But the podcast also digs into the other side of Mat – including “half a biomechanical science degree” to go with Masters studies in sports directorship, a pilot’s licence, a new love of red wine and cheese, gardening, soft furnishings and waterfalls.
His views on rugby as well as life in general are as well thought out as his moves on the rugby pitch.
If you haven’t heard the interviews, then take the time to listen. And listen properly. It is well worth it. These are extraordinary people.
The Tig begs forgiveness following the focus on Tigers’ discipline last week. No sooner had the words been published than the yellow peril struck in the derby with Saints. After seeing just two yellow cards in the first 16 rounds of Premiership rugby, Tigers matched that total on the night. Points conceded during the sin bins, 20-plus; final score, 15-29. The Tig takes responsibility for the kiss of death.