We chat with Luis Ball about his journey from German Football to Scottish Rugby.
Luis Ball is entering his third year as a Watsonians Rugby player, but his journey to Scotland and, more importantly, rugby is one not much travelled by someone born in Germany.
Born in Bremen in Germany, Ball described his home town as "a lovely city in the north." Like most in his town, football was his first love. "I played football when I was younger and was a pretty poor centre-back. I fell out of love with the sport when I stopped being picked to play, plus my dad told me that I was terrible and was always too afraid to tackle" he says, laughing.
Anybody who witnessed Ball play in the Maroon and White will see that's a fear left in the past as the second row seems to seek out contact all over the pitch.
But rugby? How did Ball end up playing rugby, a sport that doesn't even rank in the top ten sports played in his home nation?
"I stopped playing football and started getting quite chubby. My mum suggested I should do some sort of exercise, and that's when I started playing rugby. I have not looked back since then."
At 19, the forward moved to the South of Germany to play rugby in Heidelberg.
"I played a bit full-time in Germany for a year and always wanted to be a professional player, as every kid playing whatever sport it wants to make it professional. But coming from Germany, it's difficult to get in."
Difficult it may have been, but the second Row still managed to get his name around the National team at age grade.
"I played Germany fifteens under eighteens and sevens under eighteens, which elevated my career. I trained two or three times a day, which was a proper introduction to rugby. I managed to get a foot into the professional setup in Germany back then. I learned a lot about proper folks' rugby and enjoyed that. I was in training with the German national team, but I have interested in playing for them for due to the current leadership team of German rugby."
While playing for Heidelberg, Ball experienced European rugby playing for the German club across the continent. But due to some complications, the club were forced to release players.
The player found rugby a home in British Rugby, first with Rotherham Titans before moving to Bishops Stortford.
Taking about his time in England, it's Bishop Stortford that he has the fondest memories of, discussing how he feels it is his rugby home and he loves to go back and visit. Things were going great at Bishop's Stortford Luis felt settled until the pandemic hit.
"During the lockdown, I got together with my now ex-girlfriend who was in Edinburgh. I used to live in England, and our season got cancelled. I'd heard of the Super Six up in Scotland and thought I'd give it a shot moving up here. I emailed the club saying I wanted to play Super 6, and luckily, Fergus Pringle was very open to me coming in and trying training. He helped me out and found me a bit of work and a club to play at within a day."
It's not all work for the German though he knows the value of enjoying his time off. "I work a lot, and I like to socialize with my pals from rugby. I enjoy a beer very much and like going to the sauna and the steam room in my free time. Most weekends, I watch football because it's still my first love. I watch Premier League games, Bundesliga games, and my team from back home, Braven. I'm very enthusiastic about them, as any of the boys will tell you. And my Arsenal, hopefully, we'll win the league this season, but who knows?"
Of course, Super Series is seen as a chance for players to step up, and while Luis knows it will be difficult, he has a pragmatic view of the future "I try to control what I can control, play well for my team and my mates, and if anything happens, it happens. But it's not the end of the world for me if it doesn't."