This month’s instalment of “Where Are They Now” we jump across the pond to the birthplace of rugby, to catch up with the infamous Dolphin Prop Anthony Pease. In our first three instalments we have demonstrated that the Santa Monica Rugby family is truly international visiting club members in South East Asia, New Zealand, and now England. If you have any suggestions or would like to see one of your old mates highlighted in the WTN feature, please contact the editors.
1. Name/Nick Name: Ant “Mushy” Pease
2. Significant Other/Children: I ended up marrying Clair; the curly-haired weirdo that I was dating from afar while I was in LA. We now have 2 children. My daughter Alice is 2, and my son Charlie turned 3 weeks old yesterday. I also have a Basset hound called Wilbur.
3. Birth Place: Essex, England
4. Profession: I’m a business analyst in a bank in the City of London. So I work very much for The Man. It’s hardly one of those jobs that I dreamed of doing when I was growing up, but by the time I got back from California, I’d kind of missed the boat to be an astronaut.
5. Years Played with SMRC Rugby: 4 years 1997-2001 while I was at UCLA studying chemistry.
6. Playing position: Tight head prop
7. Most respected team-mates: I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to scrummaging; the front row should be for fatties with deep-seated and sometimes well-hidden anger issues. I loved every scrum at Santa Monica, so my utmost respect is for those with whom I pottered around Southern California happily ruining whoever scrummaged against us. So that’d be Buddha, Knox, Steve Johnson, Ray Lavoie, Laurie Porte, Jon Fleming and everyone else I was lucky enough to scrummage with during my time in LA.
8. Most respected opponent: Don’t for a second think I’m going to name a spritely young full-back. As a prop, you have to expect that sometimes you’re just going to have a bad day at the office. There’s one loose head who plays for a team local to me – Southend – who’s not exceptionally big, not exceptionally strong, but for some reason he’s just got my number. He knows it; I know it. I have no idea what his name is; just that I can’t stand playing against him.
9. Most memorable rugby achievement: If you’re anything like me, when you think of Sevens rugby, you probably think of the rolling maul. I’m not what one could really call a sevens specialist, but when I found out that we were sending a Clydesdales team to the Eagle Rock tournament. I figured I might as well give it a try. What followed was 5 games of the ugliest sevens that have ever been played. If we got the ball in the attacking half, we’d set up a rolling maul and score. If we got the ball in the defensive half, we’d set up a rolling maul and score. We won our division, and I was dehydrated for about 4 days afterward.
10. Most embarrassing moment in rugby: That would be my first game for Santa Monica. I turned up in LA in the off-season and trained for the summer. Our first game was against San Fernando. They chose to turn up without a tight head, so Dai Jones volunteered the new kid to go play for them. So my first game for Santa Monica was against Santa Monica. At the best of times, you’d struggle to call me nimble, and being from England, I wasn’t used to playing in the 75-80 degree heat, so mid way through the second half I was flagging a bit. It was at that point that San Fernando conceded a penalty. I lumbered back the 10 yards and turned to face play. What I saw was Rob Knox steaming straight toward me. At this point, I only knew two things in the world; that I was way too high to tackle him, and that it was way too late to do anything about it. A split-second after that, I found out that I could fly, and another split-second after that, I found out that landing was a lot harder than it looks. I vividly remember laying there in a pile of limbs, dust and shame. All I could hear was the whole Dolphin sideline creasing up in laughter. Hardly the best first impression.
11. Random bit of information: I still play. I’m currently captaining the Development Team of Thurrock RFC; the club I first played for 30 seasons ago. It’s a nice mix of a few old heads and some really exciting kids coming through from the age groups. We’re in not too taxing a league, so it’s a live environment in which to teach the kids the skills they’ll need in senior rugby; cynicism, how to cheat, and the devastating art of the well-timed witty riposte. I think I’ll play until my body tells me I can’t any more. The way I currently feel, that’ll be some time in the middle of next week…