It’s a fact, you know. At least according to the International Rugby Board, at the time of the 2015 Ruby World Cup. But not only is Nigel Owens far and away the best Rugby referee, he’s also a fantastic role model, especially for young, LGBT men and boys, and those with mental health problems.
Best known for his unique refereeing style, which has earned him the respect and admiration of most if not all in the game, Nigel has not had an easy ride to the top of his profession. Coming to terms with his sexuality as a gay man led him through a period of severe mental health problems, depression and an attempt to take his own life.
(Note: feel free to draw any parallels you like with my life here… just saying.)
I hugely, massively admire Nigel. He is someone who seems to me to have done his best to make the most of the opportunities that life has offered him. There have certainly been many challenged in Nigel’s life, some of which I can only imagine must have been incredibly tough for him, but he hasn’t let that stop him reaching the top of his chosen career.
Not least, do I admire Nigel Owens for his openness and honesty in talking about his life, his mental health and his sexuality. It’s certainly helped me and I’m sure it’s helped many others as well. For that I owe him my thanks as well as my admiration.
In fact this morning when someone asked me to think off the top of my head of a man that I admired, Nigel Owens was the first person that came to mind. So there we go. That’s what I’ve chosen to write about today, and it’s going to be a bit of an ongoing thing for me for a little while because there are one or two more people that I think deserve a little mention.
If there’s anyone that you really admire, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.