Now we have a good reason to keep Mallard and his colleagues from playing soccer

The link between playing football and testosterone levels has been established too late in Alf’s life for him to benefit.

But he will be bringing it to the attention of family members in the appropriate age bracket, encouraging them to take up football in the interests of getting much more foliage on the Grumble family tree.

He does this reluctantly, because he happens to look askance at the behaviour of football players whenever they score a goal. They kiss, hug and otherwise carry on like poofters.

Perhaps that’s because scoring – actually – is a rare event in many matches. The score typically can finish 1-0 after an hour and half or so of running up and down the field and kicking the ball around. Sometimes after all that grunting and sweating we get a scoreless draw.

But Alf can see there’s another side to the game.

The Daily Mail reports –

Playing a game of football has been found to give a boost to men’s testosterone levels – helping to increase their sex drive.

Scientists discovered players had a 30 per cent leap in the sex hormone immediately after a football game.

And even an hour after they had finished playing, their testosterone levels were still 15 per cent higher than normal.

Alf is instructing his family to press for places in the forwards, because –

Footballers who played in forward roles in the matches tended to see the biggest boost, regardless of their age, the study found.

But where did this study take place, and will its findings be relevant to the best interests of red-blooded Kiwi lads?

This question is important, because the researchers studied farmers in the remote Tsimane tribe in Bolivia where the men – so we are told – generally have much less testosterone.

Tsimane men maintain a stable amount of testosterone across their lifespans and show little incidence of obesity, heart disease and other illnesses linked with older age.

But similar increases (presumably in testosterone levels) have been shown in men living in the US and other industrialized nations following sporting competitions.

Having given us these scientific facts, in typical Daily Mail fashion the newspaper seizes on the study’s result to muse that the spike in testosterone levels may explain why so many famous footballers get caught up in sex scandals

Readers are then reminded of some of these scandals with names of the players involved.

Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, we are told, had affairs with model Imogen Thomas and his sister-in-law Natasha.

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole reportedly cheated on his singer exwife Cheryl with five girls.

All at once? We aren’t told. Probably not, because that would require buckets of testosterone.

Chelsea captain John Terry had “a secret affair” with teammate Wayne Bridge’s then partner Vanessa Perroncel, although this does not seem to make sense, because if it was secret, how does the newspaper know?

Wayne Rooney cheated on his wife Coleen with a prostitute, apparently, which seems to call for money as much as it calls for testosterone.

But let’s get away from the sleaze and back to the science.

Ben Trumble, an anthropology graduate student at the University of Washington who co-authored the study, told Science Daily: ‘Maintaining high levels of testosterone compromises the immune system, so it makes sense to keep it low in environments where parasites and pathogens are rampant, as they are where the Tsimane live.’

He and his co-authors organized a football tournament for eight Tsimane teams.

The rise in testosterone levels suggests that competition-linked bursts of the hormone are a fundamental aspect of human biology that persists even if it increases risk for sickness or infection.

Michael Gurven, co-author and anthropology professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, added: ‘What’s interesting is that in spite of being in a more pathogenic environment, it’s still important to raise testosterone for short-term bursts of energy and competition.’

The work was funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Development and the National Institute on Aging and conducted in the UW Biological Anthropology and Biodemography Lab.

Wonder if they can be persuaded to have another go with a game of rugby.

Hopefully, the results would show rugby players are in no way disadvantaged in comparison with football players and Alf could advise the males of the Grumble family to play more rugger.

For what it’s worth, several MPs have distinguished themselves in rugby over the years

… from Billy Glenn, a member of the ‘Original’ 1905 All Blacks, to Louisa Wall, who played for the Black Ferns 1994-2002. A total of seven MPs have been All Blacks: Billy Glenn (1904-06), Jack Ormond (Tiaki Ōmana) (1923), Hon Ben Couch (1947-49), Tony Steele (1966-68), Chris Laidlaw (1963-70), Grahame Thorne (1967-70) and Tu Wyllie (1980). Hon Ben Couch was also a Māori All Black (1948-50), as were Hon Sir Peter Tapsell (1954) and Paul Quinn (1977-82).

Oh, and we have had a parliamentary rugby team for many years, although Alf never signed up because he is a front-row forward and blanched at the prospect of having to put his arms around a Labour tosser like Mallard.

Wikipedia records the team’s exploits.

In 1995, in association with the Rugby World Cup in South Africa, a Parliamentary Rugby World Cup was established as a 4 yearly event. The New Zealand team won it in 1995. Seven MPs from that team are still in Parliament – Hon Bill English, Hon Murray McCully, Hon Damien O’Connor, Ross Robertson, Hon Rick Barker, Eric Roy and Hon Trevor Mallard.

AT this juncture we have the down side of any suggestion a good game of rugby lifts your testosterone levels.

This would mean buggers like Trevor Mallard are firing on more cylinders than Alf.

But in the absence of good science on the testosterone-boosting benefits of playing rugby, we do know now about how it works on soccer players.

It looks like we should be passing a law to ban lefties and greenies from playing the game, in the interests of protecting the quality of the national gene pool.

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