Professional rugby announcer Nick Heath is using his downtime during the coronavirus pandemic to become an international sensation.
With sports on pause in the United Kingdom, as they are elsewhere in the world, Heath’s schedule is suddenly much more open. In order to help fill the sports void, Heath, who came out publicly last year, has decided to record himself doing play-by-play of everyday activities, from dogs chasing each other in the park to people crossing the street. And they’ve been a big hit. Since last week, Heath’s followers on Twitter have increased from 15,000 to 92,000.
“It was just going and having a bit of fun and keeping my followers on social media entertained,” Heath told USA TODAY Sports. “But it obviously has blown up a bit since.”
Heath’s exaggerated and swift delivery makes for an entertaining listen, and hilarious contrast to the mundane everyday interactions he’s narrating. Last week, he pretended two pedestrians crossing the street were neck-and-neck at the end of a race, breathlessly calling the action. The video has been viewed more than 671,500 times.
“Light turns to red. We wait for the beeps. There they are,” Heath said. “Now ‘JD sports man,’ he’s got a decent start. ‘Leggings’ is on the outside — oh, ‘JD sports man’ is distracted! Over the shoulder, and ‘leggings’ is going to get there!”
In an effort to express gratitude for Heath’s levity, some of his new social media followers have also sent him donations, since he is a freelance commentator and gets paid by the game.
“I’ve sort of referred to it a little bit as almost being the placebo for real sports because sport for me is as much about the sound of it, the look of it, the feel of it as the action itself,” Heath told USA TODAY Sports. “So I think if you can embody the sound of it to a degree, then you’re almost scratching the itch for some people.”
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