Shelford plugs NZ men's health
If the urban legends about Buck Shelford are to be believed, he has been through some gutsy battles, but the All Black great's latest fight is for the health of Kiwi men.
Shelford was at Hamilton's Chartwell Library last night to talk about his new book, Buck Up: the real bloke's guide to getting healthy and living longer, to a crowd of about 30 people.
"It's about the blokes," he said.
"I'd like to actually change the staunchness within men as to why we don't go to the doctor."
It took cancer to shock Shelford into getting serious about his health five years ago, and a second wake-up call came two years later when he was too fat to tie his shoelaces.
He's now down to his playing weight as an All Black during the 1980s and joked that he was ready to pull on the black jersey again.
He urged other men, particularly Maori and Pacific Islanders, who have a lower life expectancy, to put pride aside and start going to the doctor for checkups, exercising and eating well.
"Let's just be around for our kids rather than being a photo on the mantelpiece," the former All Blacks captain said.
He said that he planned to "buck" the trend and be around for his mokopunas (grandchildren).
However, Shelford's philosophy on getting healthy and living well is no quick fix.
"It's simple: it's hard work."
Shelford is recognised as one of toughest and most respected players in All Black history.
He famously had his scrotum ripped open in a 1986 match against France, had it sewn up on the sideline and kept playing.