Partners and rugby teammates Jim Ming and Steve Eames work it on and off the pitch
With the Bingham Cup tourney in Manchester, England, this weekend, we decided to ask about the workout habits of rugby players. In the case of Dallas Diablos Jim Ming and Steve Eames, a boyfriend makes for a perfect rugby teammate. While Eames was initially reluctant to share his sport with Ming, they now find their on-field romance to be an added benefit, complete with synch’d training schedules, carpooling convenience and even a little intimidation factor when facing the competition. After all, it’s one thing to tackle a fella’s teammate … but just try to take out his honey!
— Jef Tingley
Names and ages: Jim Ming, 41; Steve Eames, 43.
Occupations: Ming: Human resources in the pharmaceutical industry; Eames: Instructional designer.
Length of relationship: Three years and counting.
Sports & Activities: Dallas Diablos Rugby Football Club; weight training.
Exercise regimen: Both: During rugby season, we run two miles, three days per week with weight training as time and health allows. Off rugby season, it’s weights with emphasis on legs and core, assorted cardio (mostly running) and swimming. Rest and recovery is important, too.
What’s the best thing about being on a team with your partner? Eames: Originally I didn’t want Jim to join the team. I have been playing for eight years, and when we met, it was “my thing.” I discovered that it is really nice having your partner go through everything that a sport involves with you. It is also nice to have someone do half the driving to practice and games.
Ming: We actually play right next to each other on the pitch, so it can be fun to help each other compete against the other side.
Upcoming fitness goals: Ming: I’m on the cusp of breaking a nine-minute mile, which is fast for a big guy like me.
Eames: To finally be a perfect size 6! Just kidding. I’m trying to get down to a goal weight, and I am finding that the older you get, the harder it is to get there. I’m getting there, but slowly.
Most memorable athletic accomplishment: Ming: It would have to be running in my first 5K, which was the LiveStrong 5K in Austin in 2009. My sister and I both ran in memory of our father, who we lost to cancer not long before. Steve was right by my side, as were several other Diablos. Before I started rugby and training for the 5K, I could hardly run half a mile. Running for our dad was a huge motivator for me, and completing the 5K was incredibly emotional. And, I finished ahead of Steve …
Eames: I’m getting to compete in my fifth Bingham Cup this year. That is the gay World Cup of rugby, which is played every other year between the predominately gay rugby teams from around the world in honor of Mark Bingham, one of the heroes of United Flight 93.
Least favorite exercise or piece of gym equipment? Ming: That would have to be anything to do with basketball. I’m tall so people always assume I love to play it, and I just don’t. I don’t even like watching it.
Ways you stay fit or workout together? Ming: Although running is necessary, neither of us particularly likes to run. So we normally run together, which keeps us accountable and allows some friendly competition. I think I enjoy weights more than Steve does, so many times we’ll split off and I’ll do that part myself.
How do you motivate yourself to workout? Eames: I don’t always, but being part of a team is the best motivator. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your teammates.
Words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life? Eames: Don’t wait to do it, just do it. Get off the couch and start moving. Don’t wait for New Year’s, or your birthday, or summer. If you want to play a sport, [cough] rugby! [cough], don’t try get in shape on your own. Start playing the sport and it will get you in shape. Every sport has different needs, so let it mold you.
How does your partner motivate you to workout? Ming: Steve works hard on fitness, and I admire that about him. It’s hard for me to be lazy when he’s huffing and puffing at the gym.
Eames: I have to lift him in the air in rugby, so making sure he is safe is of primary importance.
Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors? Ming: We live in Grapevine and the trails along the lake there are fantastic.
Favorite healthy/low-cal snack or meal? Ming: I’ve been trying to avoid processed foods. We’re growing our own tomatoes, cilantro and basil this year. In the warmer months, I enjoy salads full of avocado, grilled chicken, tomatoes with a nice balsamic dressing. With a side of chilled tomato soup or gazpacho, that’s a great summer meal.
If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why? Ming: I’ve always loved the Winter Olympics. I’d have to pick bobsled or luge as my dream sports. Bobsled especially involves great teamwork, and I love the speed aspect with the element of danger involved.
Which celebrity physique would you like to have, and why? Eames: Joe Manganiello from True Blood. Why? Have you seen him? Because I would look like a comic book superhero. I’ve always been a big comic geek. Unfortunately, I have nowhere near the discipline that would require.
Favorite song or play list for workout? Eames: For cardio, “All Day” by Girl Talk, and for weights, anything from Glee.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.