What makes a man? Is it rippling muscles? No. Is it perfectly fitted suits? No. Is it swagger? No. What makes a man is his beard. Most men think about growing one at least once in their lives. Some can only muster patchy blotches of hair, thick on the chin and thin almost everywhere else. Some grow along the chin – strapping their hair to their head. Some, the David Brent goatee. The more metro-sexually inclined will politely groom their conditioned stubble. Bradley Cooper fans know what I’m talking about. The world of sport is no different. What makes a good sportsman is their beard. Some athletes, of course, are prohibited from facial hair growth, with the laws of aerodynamics being as they are. But for the rest, here’s 5 fantastic beards of the sporting world.
1. Simon Whitlock
Currently the 12th best darts player in the world, Simon Whitlock has possibly the greatest beard in the sport. Australian born, and often cited as using his facial hair to scare off giant spiders and Kangaroos, “The Wizard” was the 2012 European darts champion. It’s not quite long enough to be a merlin, but scraggly enough to make him look like a hoarder. This long goatee, called a goateeeeeee, helps to counterbalance him at the ockey.
2. Ray Barkwill
From one big bellied bearded bloke to another, Barkwill (on the right) is a hooker for the Canadian National Rugby team. Only coming into major competitive Rugby aged 29, Barkwill was part of Canada’s starting fifteen against England and Ireland at this year’s world cup. His beard can only be described as “Hardened Norwegian Fisherman”. He migrated to Australia in 2010 for higher educational purposes and with it, decided to let all his hair migrate to his chin.
— BeardWatch (@SportBeardWatch) October 1, 2015
3. Moeen Ali
A Birmingham born all-rounder, Ali is one of England’s most valuable cricketers. 17 of Moeen Ali’s catches in the field and 100% of his catches at the nightclub are attributable to his bearded glory. This lustrous mane has earned him fans and critics alike, with a columnist in the Independent labelling it a “taliban beard”. I personally don’t mind this off-break bowler terrorising the opposition.
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez
There really aren’t many bigger personalities in world golf than this guy, and he’s got the perfect beard to compliment his YOLO attitude. A cracking, sweeping moustache rounded off by a wonderfully manicured semi-goatee. You may remember such beards from celebrity faces like Jimmy Hill or “V” from “V for Vendetta”. As any fashionista will tell you, no outfit is complete without accessories, and Jimenez’s facial outfit is never complete without out signature Cigar and Aviators. A true legend.
5. Andrea Pirlo
When one thinks of a the perfect beard, one thinks of Andrea Pirlo’s superb mane. He clearly has as magical a touch with his shaver as he does with his feet. Pirlo, a world cup winning footballer, has played for all the best clubs in Italy – AC and Inter Milan as well as Juventus – and currently lives the dream playing MLS Soccer for New York City against a host of Championship rejects. Fun fact: Pirlo’s beard’s so nice, when you type “Andrea” into Google, “Andrea Pirlo’s Beard” comes up before “Andrea Pirlo”
There are my top five beards in world sport. Of course, I couldn’t talk of every beard and I want to mention some unfortunates who didn’t quite meet the exceptionally high standard of beardsmanship:
Ian Rush’s Moustache, Tim Howard’s Beard, Xabi Alonso’s Mane, Gary Lineker’s Chin Cap, Djibiril Cisse’s Funky Face Hair and, of course, David Beckham.