Walk Like A Man
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The Fight To Win The World Cup of Gay Rugby:
Narrated by former rugby champion, Ian Roberts, Walk Like a Man is a heartwarming sports documentary that traces the journey of two of the world's best gay rugby teams; defending champions, San Francisco Fog and feisty upstarts, Sydney Convicts as they prepare to battle in New York during the Bingham Cup - the World Cup of gay rugby.
The Bingham Cup - a biennial international event - was conceived by San Francisco Fog, to honor their former team-mate Mark Bingham, a passenger on Flight 93 who courageously stormed the cockpit and prevented the hijackers from turning their flight into a terrorist weapon. Eight teams competed in the first Bingham Cup and four years later that number grew to 30 teams from around the world. What led to the creation of a thirty-team international tournament in just 4 short years?
In seeking to answer this question, we embark on a global journey where we get to know the men and women who are a part of this phenomenon. Each player - gay or straight, man or woman - seeks to belong to something bigger; a team, a club or indeed, a community. For some it's an opportunity to play a sport previously forbidden, while for others it's an opportunity to reclaim a dream, previously lost.
From Steve, who joined the Convicts after having nearly given up on the idea of living a fulfilled life as a gay man "to see that there's this cluster of people that share so much in common with me has absolutely changed my life", to Andrew who found a surrogate family through the Fog "when you're on the pitch you will give everything because your boys are behind you and they're with you and it forms a bond that I don't think I'd ever experienced before"; from Luke who is learning to trust men again after being sexually abused as a young boy, "that's the special part of rugby for me, is interacting on a positive level with males that are caring, that you know you can trust and that wont hurt you", to Buck, once a star athlete on a football scholarship, who gave up team sports because he felt that his two worlds - being gay and playing sport - were irreconcilable.
The documentary culminates with the Bingham Cup in NYC where archrivals San Francisco Fog and the Sydney Convicts clashed in a gallant nail biting finale.
Walk Like a Man is a real life drama about real life issues. It's about challenge and adversity, brotherhood and belonging, inequity and acceptance, blood, sweat and... queers!
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Made in the previous year, WALK LIKE A MAN chronicles the progress of two gay rugby teams - the Sydney Convicts and the San Francisco Fog as they prepare to do battle in the Bingham Cup, a gay rugby tournament held biannually in New York. We follow the training rituals of each time, witness their struggles in the changing-room, and actually see them involved in their progress towards the final challenge.
Yet Jim Morgison and Patricia Zargarella's documentary is much more than about rugby. It is about men and women making choices about themselves, abandoning their inhibitions and pursuing their life- dreams both on and off the field. Sometimes these decisions have been difficult to make (there was one particularly poignant interview with a member of the Sydney Convicts side, who admitted to having problems associating closely with any fellow human-being, until he discovered rugby), but in the end the players' courage had been triumphantly vindicated.
Rugby union at this level is a gender-blind sport, where women can play alongside men and be treated on equal terms. This proved particularly liberating for one San Francisco Fog player, whose parents, being both religious, could never admit that being gay is neither perverted nor ungodly. Their daughter had to find solace of her own, which she did so in the comfortable embrace of the rugby team.
This was the story of ordinary people from various walks of life brought together in a team sport which, although aggressive and often dangerous, had the power to give people both the courage and the power of self-determination. And this is really what sport should do. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
This hardcore-sports-doco would have been much more interesting and much less boring if it has incorporated more info on Mark Bingham and his heroic act.