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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: 5 Must-See LGBTQIA+ Films & TV Shows

Last year Michael Hudson wrote a blog about LGBT representation in Media in which he picked a handful of his favourites to share with our supporters. Now It’s been over a year since the blog has been published and it’s been fantastic to see more studios, television networks and independent content creators continue to prove that it is necessary to include the LGBTQIA+ community in their projects. So, in celebration of what should have been the weekend that Pride in Sheffield would have taken place, the Sheffield Vulcans have got together to recommend 5 Must-See LGBTQIA+ Films & TV Shows that celebrate our amazing community.

Described as essential viewing by our own Charlie PM, Matthew Warchus’s Pride is a stunning British historical comedy-drama that has received critical acclaim and several award nominations including the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture. Based on a true story, Pride follows a group gay and lesbian activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984. Starring an incredible cast including Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, Pride is a beautiful story packed with plenty of heart and humanity. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry but more importantly it will take you through some incredible history that proves If you’re willing to support your fellow person, great things can be achieved.

Our next recommendation comes in the form of the 5-part web-series The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo. Directed by, Written by and Starring Brian Jordan Alvarez (from TV’s Will & Grace), the series focuses on a group of LGBTQIA+ LA actors who are romantically intertwined. We love it because of its absurd comedic timing and intensely strong characterisation. The whole series wraps up in just an hour and a half and features a surprising heartfelt ending. So if you want to check it out for yourself then you’re in luck as the whole series is available to watch for FREE on YouTube. click here to watch it.

POSE is an outstanding drama series from the minds of Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals. Serving face, looks and topics that dominated the 80s and early 90s, POSE is one of the first trans led, trans positive shows to tell the story of the culture within the African-American and Latino LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom scene. The show stars ensemble cast including Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson and Billy Porter and is available in full on BBC iPlayer. So, if you are a fan of the amazing documentary Paris is Burning but have yet to watch POSE then you are sorely missing out on one of the most iconic shows ever produced.

Up next is the sleeper hit Shitt’s Creek. Created by Dan and Eugene Levy, the show follows the trails and tribulations of the formerly wealthy Rose family after they are forced to relocate to Shitt’s Creek, a small town they one purchased as a joke. On their arrival the Roses take up residence in town’s motel as they adjust to life without money and comedy ensues. At first glance the show appears to be a standard fish-out-water sitcom but  any Shitt’s Creek fan will confirm that it doesn’t take long to hook audiences thanks to it’s amazing writing, sense of humour and solid performances by its cast. The reason why this show made our list is because of the way the show embraces its central pan-sexual character David, played here by Dan Levy. We love the way David’s sexuality is simply accepted by other characters in the show with no expressions of homophobia in the story line and that deserves to be celebrated.

Written and directed by openly trans filmmakers, The Wachowski Sisters (the minds behind The Matrix franchise), Sense8 portrays the story of eight strangers from different parts of the whole who suddenly discover they are mentally and emotionally linked. We love the way the show explores subjects that are not commonly emphasised in many science fiction shows to date such as politics, identity, sexuality, gender and religion. The first season is available to stream on Netflix and we want you to check it out for its representation of LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.

There you have our 5 must-see LGBTQIA+ films and TV shows. If you would like to share your recommendations with us let us know on social media by using the hashtag #VulcanVoice. Thanks for reading.
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What the Sheffield Vulcans Have Done For Me

Over the last two weeks we have been sharing the personal stories of several Vulcans and today we are sharing something equally as special. Tom Stephens joined the Sheffield Vulcans in August 2019 and since then he has deep-rooted himself in the team to exist as one of our most valued players. Off the pitch has forged life-long friendships and has used his time to combat his personal demons. This is Tom’s story:

I’m not one for writing much, but after almost one year with the Vulcans I’d like to take some time to reflect on where I started and everything the club has done for me since.

After a series of collapses, seizures, second degree burns, and a multitude of other medical anomalies, I had spent 3 years of university unable to sit any exams and feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere. I made the hard decision to take a year out of uni and move back home in hopes that a change of scenery might alleviate the rut I’d found myself in. It worked to some degree; I no longer thought of myself stuck at the end of those long 3 years. However, I was now isolated away from the friends I’d lived around for 6 years, feeling like I’d somehow given up or failed. I withdrew into myself, preparing for a year of simply waiting for it to be over. I barely left the house and was sleeping into the afternoon most days. I was in an unhealthy place, both physically and emotionally.

A month or so before Sheffield Pride I heard about a local inclusive rugby club which trained close to me. I’d had a passion for rugby when I was younger but had lost touch with it in the years since secondary school. Finding a need for both physical exercise and something to get me out of the house, I wanted to give it a try, but fear stopped me walking 10 minutes down the road and throw a ball around. A stupid fear that I’d be terrible, and people would laugh at me. A stupid fear that my lack of fitness would make me stand out for all the wrong reasons. I thought that even though the Vulcans were branded as ‘inclusive’, somehow that wouldn’t apply to me. A lot of stupid reasons when I think about it now, but back then they all seemed very real. When Sheffield Pride finally came around, I headed down to Endcliffe park with the intention of stopping by the Vulcans stall just to have a quick look and see what I was missing. That’s when I noticed the Vulcans were throwing a party that night. Whilst I may have been self-conscious about my sports prowess, my ability to drink has never been in doubt and so I went out. That night was exactly what I needed to snap me out of my fears. Instead of me standing in a corner awkwardly dancing, several of the Vulcans made a clear point to chat to me and bring me into other conversations. I didn’t feel like the new guy that people felt obliged to speak to, I felt like I was with people who wanted to get to know me. I decided that the Vulcans might be a place for me after all.

3 days after Sheffield Pride and the amazing after party, I attended my first training session. It was miserable weather, I was exhausted and sweaty, and I didn’t care about any of that. I had fun. I proved to be just as out of shape as I thought I was and had forgotten most of what I knew about how to play, though there was no judgement from anyone there. Getting out of the house for an hour of rugby gave me back some of the energy I’d lost in the last 3 years. It wasn’t some miracle cure for everything I was thinking and feeling, but I knew I needed to go back for the next session. Training quickly became my favourite part of the week partially for the rugby, more for the wonderful people I was getting to know. I joined at the same time as a few other players, and having some fellow newbies definitely made me feel better about how I compared to everyone else, but It soon became apparent that this wasn’t a club where being new meant you were on the outside. Within a few weeks I realised that my teammates were going to become my friends whether I wanted it or not. The worst year of my life was beginning to turn around.

As I began settling into the team properly and played my first game as a Vulcan, my worries over being accepted had completely gone. What I was scared about now was not being good enough and letting everyone down. Before this year, I would have let that fear sit with me while doing nothing to change the situation. Instead, I listened to the voices of the people around me. When you’re surrounded by so many incredible friends and role models, it’s hard not to take in what they say to you. I worked hard at improving not just my physical fitness, but the way I viewed exercise in general. I started to see my fitness as a measure of both my physical well-being and how much I cared about myself. In order to improve my ability on the pitch and impress the people I care about; I’d have to start treating myself better. It sounds like a terrible cliché to say that this rugby team changed my life, so instead I’ll say that joining the Vulcans changed the way I looked at myself and the value I put on things. For several months I continued to improve myself and make sure I earned the spot on the team that meant so much to me. Unfortunately, things started to decline for me very quickly when lockdown began.

Going from seeing my friends at least once a week to suddenly not seeing them for months hit me hard. I began to slide into my old unhealthy habits almost immediately. I retreated back into myself, barely talking to the people I considered my close friends and leaving the house only to go to work. The sudden halt of routine exercise and lack of motivation to work led to a rather rapid weight gain which only further demoralised me. I was back in a slump that had no clear end in sight, the exact circumstances I had taken a year out to escape from. This would not last for too long thankfully, as the friends I’d made in the Vulcans weren’t going to just let me feel sorry for myself. In particular, I want to give massive credit to Tiago and Lefty, for sending me so many messages and terrible Instagram memes that it was truly impossible to ignore them. Starting by getting me to just reply to messages and not cut people off, my teammates were dragging me out of the slump. The initiation of a weekly zoom quiz and subsequent after-dark hangout helped to somewhat restore the social interactions I desperately missed. Introduction of a weekly Strava leaderboard for the team gave me the incentive to start exercising, building back up from just walking to running again. Piece by piece, the joy and well-being I had lost was coming back, and every part of it was thanks to the Vulcans. Pushing myself with a flood of support around me, I started running greater distances than I’d run before, and topped the Strava leaderboard multiple times, a small achievement that means a lot to me. With the restart of small group training sessions and more in-person interactions, there has been a significant boost in the progress I’ve made, and things look increasingly positive going forward.

Looking toward the future, my relationship with the team is going to be changing. I’ll be returning to the University of Birmingham in September, and as such will be leaving the Vulcans. However, I know for a fact that I won’t be leaving the friendships I’ve made here behind me. I’ll be keeping in touch with many of my teammates and I’ll be visiting every chance I get. One year ago, I was making plans on how to make it through my year away from uni, now I’m looking forward to completing my degree next year so I can make a full return to the Vulcans. This inclusive rugby club taught me a lot about how to play rugby, but it taught me far more about what’s truly important and for that I will always be grateful.Sheffield Vulcans 2019

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for everything he’s brought and continues to bring to the Vulcans. Tom might be leaving Sheffield for the delights of Birmingham to complete his studies, but we don’t need to tell him that his spot on the Vulcans will be waiting on his return.

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Why I love being a Sheffield Vulcan: Chris’s story

With us unable to train at home up at Sheffield Tigers RUFC as a single unit, the Sheffield Vulcans haven’t let the lockdown dampen our team spirit. We’re still working on our fitness by running drills in pods of six around the steel city making sure we’re ready for the upcoming season. So, as we continue training under RFU guidelines, we want to share with you why we love being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans.

That’s why we’ve reached out to a few of our players and asked them to share their story with you about their personal experiences of being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans. We asked them about how they came to know about the club, why they joined the team and what advice they have for individuals interested in playing rugby.

This is Chris Moore’s story…

Chris MooreBrief history lesson – I played from school age until U21s and a few senior games at Durham City Rugby Club, before cutting short my playing days following a couple of bad injuries in quick succession, combined with a move down south to the wonderful city of Sheffield.

Fast forward 20-odd years and I suddenly, weirdly, start getting the itch to play again, around about the time of my 41st birthday. I had gone from having limited interest in the sport, to desperately wanting to be back out there, making those hits and testing myself. I can’t explain why.

That said, with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve found myself wondering just why it was that I let rugby drift out of my life like that? I’d gone from playing 2 or 3 times a week for 15 years or whatever it was, to barely engaging with something that had previously meant so much to me.

It’s crossed my mind that it might be because I lost my dad in my early 20’s, not that long after I moved down here. Rugby was our thing. We used to go to watch Newcastle Falcons together when we had this young 16-year-old kid called Jonny Wilkinson on the bench, who apparently was going to make it big, according to whispers around Kingston Park.

So, it has occurred to me recently that it might have been because of that missing element. That gap in proceedings. We couldn’t watch games together or discuss them on the phone anymore. I think I’d just fallen out of love with the game and it wasn’t even a conscious decision I was aware of at the time. That’s just one possible theory, anyway.

Not that it was just my dad who was bang into it. My mam once ran onto the pitch to rescue one of my team mates, who she spotted getting kneed in the face at the bottom of a ruck.

“He’s not even your son!” they shouted.

“They’re ALL my boys” she replied, as the ref showed her the red card. She got a special award at the end of season for that – the first and only spectator to get sent off!

Anyway, the Vulcans. Thanks to the dubious wonders of facebook’s targeted advertising, I’d seen an advert for a rugby team that accepted you regardless of age, experience, ability, fitness levels, or orientation. Perfect!

I got in touch and went along, but it was WAY different to what I was used to. I found a bunch of guys in Endcliffe Park, knocking about under a temporary flood light. I mean, great lads and I really enjoyed it, but it was not the normal club set up I was accustomed to. I’ll come back to that later though.

Somewhere between making the initial enquiry and turning up to training, it occurred to me that this was a “gay” rugby club. I mean, it’s not, we’re an inclusive team open to everyone, so I got that bit wrong for a start.

Chris MooreBut it had never even crossed my mind, to be honest, even though the advert did indeed mention orientation. I’d followed Vulcans on Instagram and kept seeing #IGR – I wondered what the hell is IGR?

Oh, it’s International Gay Rugby.

I have to be honest and say there were questions.

“What will my friends think?”

“Will it be proper rugby?”

“Will I fit in, or even be welcome?”

Well that all turned out to be a load of bollocks. I took the plunge and soon realised this was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sheffield Vulcans changed my life.

So, let’s get this cleared up. If you’re a straight guy worrying about joining an inclusive IGR team, then worry not. I belong to a club that plays rugby for the love of the sport. No initiation ceremonies or ‘hazing’, none of that toxic masculinity that can unfortunately be prevalent in a lot of ‘mainstream’ or university clubs. It’s rugby without all the stereotypical nonsense that can unfortunately give rugby players a bad name.

We’re just here to grow and improve together. We are brothers. Actually, we’re sisters too. We’re whatever. It doesn’t matter. Sheffield Vulcans has made me a better person; not that it’s changed my beliefs as such, but it’s given me a better understanding of the world and the array of humans that inhabit it.

And as for the rugby itself, let me tell you “gay rugby”, to borrow a phrase from a certain local magazine editor, is still bloody brutal when you cross that white line. It still hurts. It still feels just as good though. It’s no different, actually. And it doesn’t matter how old you get, you still kinda enjoy collecting cool scars and comparing bruises.

Looking back on those early days in the park, despite my reservations about the set-up, it was clear to me that there was a lot of potential there. There were new players who’d barely touched a rugby ball before, who I could tell had it in them to be very handy on the pitch. This could be a great team. There was a collective energy and enthusiasm that told me there was more to come from this lot, but the lack of facilities was frustrating.

Having said that, the club didn’t even exist until a few years ago, so I’ve nothing but respect and admiration for those founding members who’d got it off the ground, with kits, sponsors and so on. To build a rugby club from scratch is some achievement and we should never take that for granted; we’re forever in their debt. But there was an increasing groundswell of opinion amongst more experienced members that we could push on to be bigger and better.

And that’s where Sheffield Tigers come into the picture. Without boring you with the details, Sheffield’s premiere rugby club has taken us under their wing (paw?) and forged a partnership with the Vulcans to see us ground-share with them up at Dore Moor.

It’s early days yet, annoyingly put on pause by COVID-19 recently, but already the huge improvement in facilities has led to both tangible results on the pitch, as well a positive mood-shift with the group towards feeling like this really is the start of us reaching our full potential. We ARE a proper club and we belong here. We’ve earnt it.

We’ve just had our most successful season ever, undefeated at home with some big numbers on the scoreboard, plus an ever-so-tense first away win in London. We were confident enough to enter ourselves into the top tier of a recent tournament, pitting ourselves against the big guns in IGR, despite technically still being a ‘development team’. We could have gone into the lower tier and had a genuine shot at some silverware, but nah. Fortune favours the brave!

Sheffield Vulcans is team that is going somewhere and I’m very excited about what the future holds. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for and hope I can serve the club well, by putting back into the team as much as it’s given me.

Chris’s advice for individuals wanting to play rugby:

If you’re thinking of trying something new, or like me want to rekindle an old flame, then we’d absolutely love to welcome you along for the ride. Just bring snacks, yeah?

We’d like to thank Chris for sharing his story.

If you want to know more about the Sheffield Vulcans or you are interested in joining us at our next available training session you can join our Facebook group here or you can click here to register as a Vulcan.

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Why I love being a Sheffield Vulcan: Jon’s Story

With us unable to train at home up at Sheffield Tigers RUFC as a single unit, the Sheffield Vulcans haven’t let the lockdown dampen our team spirit. We’re still working on our fitness by running drills in pods of six around the steel city making sure we’re ready for the upcoming season. So, as we continue training under RFU guidelines, we want to share with you why we love being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans.

That’s why we’ve reached out to a few of our players and asked them to share their story with you about their personal experiences of being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans. We asked them about how they came to know about the club, why they joined the team and what advice they have for individuals interested in playing rugby.

This is Jon Dickinson’s story…

Jon DickinsonI’ve never been one for sports but after clocking in at almost thirty stone at my heaviest, I have been on a fitness journey over the last two years in pursuit of mental and physical well-being. It began when my GP decided to check my HbA1c levels after experiencing a number of symptoms such as low energy levels and an increased thirst. So If you know what that means you can probably guess where this is going…

After being called back to receive my results it was confirmed that my blood glucose level was dangerously high. Although it wasn’t enough to be considered Diabetic, I was diagnosed as Pre-Diabetic and at a high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. I was basically told that if I didn’t immediately change the path I was on then things will only get worse and that’s when my GP went into a tirade of what could happen to my body. It was at that moment that the fear of god was put into me and from that day that I vowed to make a change. A change that would set me on to a new and exciting adventure.

So, with the days of spending hours on end watching films behind me, I used NHS resources to build a healthier relationship with food and forced myself to become more active by walking long distances twice a week. I even booked a holiday to Florida to keep me focused on losing weight because I knew the fear of doing the walk of shame after not being able to fit on the rides would be enough to keep my urges to binge in check. That said, it’s easier said than done but I was determined to do everything within my power to reverse the diagnosis and after 9 months of continual hard work and dedication, I was successful.

Having improved my overall fitness, shifting six stone in weight and reversing my Pre-Diabetic diagnosis, I was looking for a new way to keep fit and that’s when I discovered the Vulcans. I saw a post on Facebook promoting the Sheffield Vulcan’s after pride party. Unaware of who the Vulcans were prior to that I checked out their page to discover they were a local inclusive rugby team and that a few members team were hosting a stall at Sheffield Pride. It was a shame that the event was completely rained out. As I was making my way to the park I full on decked it after slipping in the mud and I didn’t want that to be my first impression so to save myself embarrassment I returned home feeling incredibly red-faced.

That night I decided to attend the Vulcan’s After Pride party on my own. It was at that point that I saw an old work colleague of mine and she introduced me to her fiancé Michael Callaghan and he was the first Vulcan I spoke to. He introduced me to Craig Waterhouse and they took the time to listen and answer my questions. I explained my concerns on never playing any sports previously and was assured that as an IGR team the Vulcans were a very supportive team and they’d love to see me attend training and that started my journey.

I’ll always remember my first training session with the Vulcans. I knew that unless I applied myself 100% I was not going to commit so I invested in a full Rugby kit and set off to join the first welcome session at Endcliffe Park. It was at that moment that the heavens opened and it rained so hard that I actually thought training wouldn’t take place. Nonetheless I persevered to Endcliffe with the idea that if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to go back. I was the first to arrive so I changed into my new rugby boots and waited patiently. One by one the team begun to arrive and that’s when I took my first steps onto the field.

I remember having enjoyed the first welcoming session. Sure, I felt out of my depth but there was no denying how much I was made to feel welcome. In fact, during that session, fellow Vulcans Chris Moore and Richard Mather took me under their wing and took time to explain what was happening play-by-play and it was because of this that I attended the second training session taking a couple of days later. My first week was rounded off with my first team social and my future with the Vulcans was set in stone.

I have come a long way thanks to my fellow Vulcan brothers. I’ve played several games and fallen in love with a sport that’s right for me. I have even been fortunate to be awarded Forward of the Match in my debut game against Hull Roundheads and I have recently joined the Sheffield Vulcan committee where I am responsible for the club’s social media platforms. So, if you had told me two years ago that this is where I was going to be today, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Sheffield Vulcans 2019

Jon’s advice for individuals wanting to play rugby:

Playing Rugby Union has given me the confidence to believe in myself and value my own ability. Sure, it was scary to join a group of talented amateur rugby players but the benefits outweighed the fear in every category. Joining the Vulcans has not only improved my fitness levels but it has changed me forever. Without sounding too dramatic joining the Sheffield Vulcans has saved my life. So if you want my advice I urge anyone who has even the smallest interest in playing the sport to try it (pun intended). I did and have never looked back.

If you want to know more about the Sheffield Vulcans or you are interested in joining us at our next available training session you can join our Facebook group here or you can click here to register as a Vulcan.

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Lets Tackle the Stigma of Mental Health

As Sheffield Vulcans we believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. Mental health is important. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress on and off the pitch and how we make decisions. That’s why we stand together as a club to provide a warm and welcoming environment where everyone feels valued.

We are delighted to be in partnership with LooseHeadz, the rugby leisurewear brand stocking high-quality workout gear from sizes Small to 4XL whose aim is to tackle the stigma of mental health in rugby. With every purchase made via their website, the LooseHeadz Foundation with the help of Team Mental Health, are funding events and initiatives to rugby players at every level of the game, aimed at opening up the conversation around mental health.

Every penny that goes into the LooseHeadz Foundation is used to tackle the stigma of mental health in sport and we’re excited to offer our amazing players, members and supporters of our club 15% off any purchase of LooseHeadz gear. Head over to their website www.looseheadz.co.uk and use the code “SheffVulcans” at checkout.

By choosing LooseHeadz, not only will you be helping to tackle the stigma of mental health but you will be supporting us as well. Let’s work together to make the conversation about mental health be as normal as one about any physical injury or ailment.

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Why I love being a Sheffield Vulcan: Andrew’s Story

With us unable to train at home up at Sheffield Tigers RUFC as a single unit, the Sheffield Vulcans haven’t let the lockdown dampen our team spirit. We’re still working on our fitness by running drills in pods of six around the steel city making sure we’re ready for the upcoming season. So, as we continue training under RFU guidelines, we want to share with you why we love being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans.

That’s why we’ve reached out to a few of our players and asked them to share their story with you about their personal experiences of being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans. We asked them about how they came to know about the club, why they joined the team and what advice they have for individuals interested in playing rugby.

This is Andrew Gibson’s story…

Andrew Gibson

I  hadn’t ever considered that rugby could be a sport for me; I’m not in any way athletic and did not enjoy PE or sport when I was at school.  After discovering the Vulcans through social media, I popped along to a training session with a friend who was wanting to join and after spending a few weeks of watching from the edge of the field, I thought I could give it a go so I did. Talking to the Chairperson at the time, he persuaded me to give it a try (pun?), but I waited a few months until the end of July when the “Welcome Week” sessions were being run.

I was nervous to start, I felt like I was always falling over my own shadow all the time, but working with the team had a very surprising effect. Not only did it improve my physical abilities proving to myself I could do more than I suspected but it has improved my confidence as well as my mental health which is just as important to me.

Everyone on the team is extremely supportive, and they are now like an extended family. If you struggle with a skill, you can always approach one of the more experienced players and they will help you improve, breaking it down in a way that you understand.

Initially, I was only going to join for non-contact rugby, but as I have gone along I have found the confidence to play full games too. Joining the Vulcans has most definitely changed my life and my outlook on sports.

Recently, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the team have all rallied around each other, and aside from our online quiz nights, we are all there on the other end of the phone for each other, whether it be for a chat or to offer support, even to pop to the supermarket if we were isolating!

Andrew’s advice for individuals wanting to play rugby:

Don’t feel pressured into it if you’re new, take it at your own pace. That’s what the Vulcans did for me and that’s why I am still a member today.

We’d like to thank Andrew for his time and for sharing his story.

If you want to know more about the Sheffield Vulcans or you are interested in joining us at our next available training session you can join our Facebook group here or you can click here to register as a Vulcan.

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Why I love being a Sheffield Vulcan: Charlie’s Story

With us unable to train at home up at Sheffield Tigers RUFC as a single unit, the Sheffield Vulcans haven’t let the lockdown dampen our team spirit. We’re still working on our fitness by running drills in pods of six around the steel city making sure we’re ready for the upcoming season. So, as we continue training under RFU guidelines, we want to share with you why we love being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans.

That’s why we’ve reached out to a few of our players and asked them to share their story with you about their personal experiences of being a member of the Sheffield Vulcans. We asked them about how they came to know about the club, why they joined the team and what advice they have for individuals interested in playing rugby.

This is Charlie Winterburn’s story…

Charlie Winterburn

I first found out about the Vulcans on social media. After telling myself I’d go to a session for a few months I finally decided to go down to Endcliffe Park to give it a go back in October. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.​ ​

I’d played rugby as a kid all the way up to coming to Sheffield to study archaeology (the Vulcans name took me an embarrassingly long time to get though!). Even though it took until my third year of uni to join and I hadn’t played for a few years, rugby had still been a part of my life. The glory and beauty of the Six Nations every winter; I remember taking non-rugby friends to the pub to watch Wales thrash England (as one of the only Welsh supporters in the pub) and it was amazing.​

I wanted to join a club that would be welcoming and supportive and finally decided to try the Vulcans out for myself. Growing up I played all over the park, but mostly in the front row. After a few years I was forced further away from the scrums and more towards the backs. At the Vulcans my lack of dedicated knowledge for a single position isn’t a limiting factor, although I physically can’t play in the forwards (well I could at 70kgs but it wouldn’t be easy!); the Vulcans are a team of many strengths and there’s no such thing as not being “good enough” only that you try your best.​

Charlie’s advice for individuals wanting to play rugby:

For anyone considering joining, no matter your ability, just do it, just reach out and you’ll be on the pitch in no time having a laugh.

We’d like to thank Charlie for his time and we won’t hold it against you for wearing a league shirt.

If you want to know more about the Sheffield Vulcans or you are interested in joining us at our next available training session you can join our Facebook group here or you can click here to register as a Vulcan.

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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: Pre-Training Meals

As Sheffield’s first LGBTQ inclusive Rugby team we pride ourselves on being a squad made up of athletes who come from a wide range of ability, fitness and experience. Always looking for ways to improve our performance our team of coaches heartily encourage our members to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

However, in today’s new world forged by Covid-19, it is often difficult to keep on the straight and narrow when it comes to nutrition. Sure, lockdown rules have been relaxed and we can do as much exercise as we want out doors but it also means that temptation of grabbing something quick and easy is even more present now the golden arches have opened their drive through and delivery services.

We’re not worried too much though because tonight marks the restart of our training sessions. That’s right, keeping in-line with the recommended government guidelines our team has been split into squads of six who will work together to complete HIIT sessions developed to help improve our fitness during pre-season ready for when the season begins (whenever that may be).

With training starting again the team have been thinking about how we each treat our bodies. We’ve already been encouraging one another to remain active during lockdown thanks to our weekly Strava challenge but it’s just as important to take note of our nutrition as well. Good nutrition is vital for exercise and performance and can help recover faster after each workout. It’s equally as important to think about the timing of your pre-workout meal too. That’s why it comes highly recommended to try and eat a complete meal containing carbs, protein and fat at least 2 hours before you exercise as this will help prevent any stomach discomfort during exercise.

Ahead of tonight’s training we turned to our committee to see what their go to pre-training meal and here is are a few of their recommendations:

If your training starts within 3 hours:

Our club President Michael Hudson recommends something quick and easy to prepare. That’s why he swears by enjoying a meal of chicken and rice/pasta a few hours before training. Protein, carbs… simple!

As an alternative suggestion, our very own Matt Clark recommends fajitas made with lean protein, brown rice and roasted vegetables.

If your training starts within 2 hours:

Our Social Secretary Tibble Smith knows how to keep it light and recommends enjoying some toast with butter (and jam if he’s feeling a little naughty).

As an alternative suggestion, you could enjoy a bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk.

If training starts within an hour:

Our club Chair Glenn Allen and our very own Jude Berry recommend enjoying a piece of fruit, such as a banana or an apple.

As an alternative suggestion you could enjoy a nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients.

That concludes our recommendations for pre-training fuel and we hope you found it useful. Remember at the end of the day improving your pre-training nutrition can go a long way in helping you perform better and recover faster as an athlete. But before you go, remember that your body also needs water to function so it is important that you maintain good hydration habits as well.

Thanks for reading.

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Sheffield Vulcans Recommend: Podcasts Vol. 1

The Sheffield Vulcans have been taking part in a weekly Strava challenge that has seen the team working together to reach a set distance. For the last three week’s we’ve constantly smashed every target set and we’re on track for beating it for the fourth week in a row.

Inspired by the appearance of our very own Michael Hudson on episode 2 of the Ruck My Life Podcast, a podcast dedicated to exploring what life is like for the LGBTQ+ community in sport, we reached out to the team to see what podcasts they’ve been listening to whilst taking part in our Strava challenge.

Kicking off our list of recommendations is the House of Rugby, a podcast that takes its listeners right to the heart action with big name interviews and delving into the big issues in the game. Presented by Alex Payne and James Haskell, House of Rugby is a casual yet informative podcast released every Wednesday to provide listeners with a breakdown of the news in rugby union.
Rec by Charlie Prior-Mills & Chris Moore

Do you like Music? Do you like taking part in Quizzes? If you answered yes to both then you should check out the PopMaster podcast. Presented by BBC 2’s Ken Bruce, PopMaster invites listeners to take part in his tricky music quiz. There are over 27 episodes for you to check out which provides hours of fun for listeners to enjoy!
Rec by Glenn Allen

If you love to laugh then Shagged. Married. Annoyed. is for you. Chris Ramsey and his wife going through letters from the public and discuss how things are in the world. Very relatable and extremely hilarious, there are over 65 episodes to check out. So, if you’re looking for something to put a smile on your face during lockdown this show will provide plenty of laugh out loud moments!
Rec by Andrew Gibson

Three friends read the erotic fiction written by one of their dads who knows almost nothing about sex, anatomy, or storytelling in the smash hit podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno. Certainly one of those you have to hear it to believe it experiences, My Dad… is praised highly by multiple Vulcans as one of the best podcasts they’ve ever listened to!
Rec by Joel Walker & Matthew Buckingham

Next up is Athletico Mince, a British comedy podcast hosted by Bob Mortimer and Andy Dawson. The football podcast that no one wanted features discussions about football and whether being gentle in the Premier League makes one a better manager. It’s not for everyone but if you’re into your football and you’re a comedy fan then this is the mash up for you.
Rec by Chris Moore

Fancy a dive into the world of conspiracy theories? Those Conspiracy Guys is an Irish comedy podcast that discusses pretty much everything from paranormal happenings and true crime right through to aliens and werewolves. No topic is too delicate or outlandish, the team go above and beyond to provide listeners with plenty of waffle as the show dissects the misinformation out in the world.
Rec by Archive Irving

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast sees the bubbly and fast paced thought process of JVN take listeners on a rollercoaster for 45 minutes as he asks questions of all varieties to experts across the world. Get better understanding of complex issues, learn things you never knew, and learn more about the work of celebrities and activists from across the globe. There’s something for everyone and you’re guaranteed to learn something new whilst doing it.
Rec by Michael Hudson

If you’re a fan of Ru Paul’s Drag Race then you’ll want to check out Race Chaser with Alaska and Willam. Entertaining and insightful, the show recaps every episode and dives deep to provide listeners with gossip about what was really going on behind the scenes. Covering every season of Drag Race, All-Stars and Drag Race UK, Race Chaser is the best podcast to listen to if you’re a fan of the show.
Rec by Daniel Jenkinson

If you’re a fan of horror then you should check out the Tales from Beyond the Pale podcast. Hosted and curated by filmmakers Larry Fessenden (Depraved) and Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), this award-winning series treats listeners to half-hour tales ranging from the gently macabre to the genuinely gruesome. With over 30 episodes currently available, this show is guaranteed to send icy chills down your spine… if you’re brave enough to listen.
Rec by Jon Dickinson

Andy Goode, Big Jim Hamilton & Andy Rowe have a real treat for Rugby fans in The Ruby Pod. From covering the latest news with plenty of laughs and opinions without taking themselves too seriously, The Rugby Pod is made for fans, by fans and exists as a fully interactive platform where listeners are invited to get in touch with funny stories, questions or opinions via social media.
Rec by Charlie Prior-Mills & Chris Moore

Let’s finish off this round of podcast recommendations by mentioning the excellent Ruck My Life podcast again. Presented by CJ who plays for the Village Spartans, Ruck My Life continues to grow as a very informative podcast featuring guest appearances from IGR players around the world to give an insight into their experiences as a LGBT player in a sports team. Please show it your support by checking it out.

All the shows listed above are available where all good podcasts are available.

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How We’re Maintaining Fitness During Lockdown

Since the lockdown began the Sheffield Vulcans have had plenty of downtime since the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic sunk its nails deep into the flesh of this planet. Not only were our Tuesday night training sessions suspended indefinitely, but the government only allowed us to leave our homes once a day initially, restricting the amount of exercise we could do outside of our homes.

Thankfully, this didn’t stop the Vulcans from working on our fitness. Every Tuesday for the past nine weeks we’ve been taking part in remote HIIT sessions delivered by the fantastic Analise Moran from Moran Personal Training. Taking to our bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and gardens, we’ve been squatting, planking, and becoming sweaty messes with the goal of maintaining our fitness.

In addition to this our very own Liam Goodwin came up with a solution to keep the team engaged between HIIT sessions by using Strava, a popular fitness tracking app. Liam noticed that a few of the team were already on there tracking workouts during lockdown in an effort to remain active and sane. Other rugby and sports clubs had set themselves up on Strava and we thought it was a great idea, so got Sheffield Vulcans set-up and encouraged the team to get involved in weekly distance challenges.

The first week had a positive response with roughly half of the club signing up to take on 100km, which we had exceeded by Wednesday. As a result the target was doubled, and by the end of the week the team flew past the revised target with an incredible distance of 287km. This was mirrored by the results of the second week which saw the Vulcans smash the 300km target with 433km in total.

During this time Liam saw a growth in interest amongst the team thanks in part to the weekly leader board and results, adding friendly competition into the mix. Some eager beavers have been getting out multiple times a day with an eye on the top three spots, whilst others are happy doing their own thing pushing themselves individually. Being an inclusive team consisting of people of all ages and ability, we ensured the challenge allowed members to walk, run or cycle any distance they felt comfortable with. Furthermore, the challenge has provided the perfect opportunity for some of our Vulcans to spend time with one another (within government guidelines of course).

Recently, we’ve celebrated our third weekly result and managed to complete a collective distance of 602.31km, which is the equivalent of running from Plymouth to Middlesbrough. Each week the target grows, and we’ve now added an extra mini-challenge for all members to complete a minimum 10km distance across the week.

On reflection, we can’t thank Liam and Analise enough keeping us Vulcans engaged and motivated to keep our fitness up. The benefits of taking on these challenges have helped us to work together, motivate one another, and ultimately bring us closer together as a team even though we’re physically far apart. We know one day the lockdown will end and we will all return to Sheffield Tigers to continue our training ready for next season. Until then, the team will continue to support one another and smash our weekly targets.