Todd Clever: Founder, Todd Clever Foundation Commentator, Major League Rugby
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NATE ABBOTT
What do you look forward to most when you return to the Coachella Valley?
Mostly, it’s seeing my folks. I bought a house here [in Indio] to spend more time with them. Plus, there’s the perfect weather, shopping on El Paseo, the art galleries, the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, and golf. There’s a variety of challenging courses in the desert. My wife is an avid golfer. She’s so much better than I am that she’s my golf coach now. That’s another reason we come to the desert all the time: We can play more rounds of golf.
Palm Springs-born rugby superstar Todd Clever goes wild at the La Quinta Resort & Club.
What do you recall about growing up here?
I have a 10-year-old daughter and she drives me around in the golf cart while I play golf. That’s definitely what I remember doing at her age for my dad. Now, it’s come full circle.
What was it like posing nude for ESPN The Magazine in 2015?
I was a little nervous. When they asked me, I thought I had six months to prepare for it, but it was just three weeks away. I went on a diet of no carbs and did extra ab workouts to make sure I was happy with my rig.
Was it a closed set?
I thought it would just be a cameraman, lighting person, and make-up person. The night before, they sent the call sheet and there were 23 other people on it. There was a big audience, but it was pretty fun.
You don’t mind engaging and being scantily clad on social media, do you?
It makes the world a little smaller during these crazy times. At the end of the day, I want to be myself. It’s OK to be wacky and wear some funny briefs. I actually have a bunch of pairs from my buddy’s company. It’s called Noodle Bagz. I have them in all sorts of fun and funky patterns.
There’s a push to add you to the World Rugby Hall of Fame. What would that mean to you?
Reading the recommendations of people in support of me joining brings back a lot of memories of all the teams I’ve been part of over the years. I have always recognized it was a team sport. If I get in, I’ll never think of it as just me. There’s been a lot of support from all the people I’ve worked with and my family as well.
Why did you start the Todd Clever Foundation?[The foundation] keeps me active in the sport. It feels good to work hard for something that we really need during these challenging times. Whether it’s coaching or setting up clinics — and we plan to eventually create scholarships — we can make a positive change for a lot of young boys and girls.
How does it feel to be on the other side of the field now that you’re doing sideline commentary for the LA Glitinis, the new Major League Rugby team?
It’s a fun gig. They’ve signed a great group of players and play at the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum. It’s been a great opportunity to still be around the game and the guys. It’s not too time consuming, so I can continue to focus on the foundation.
I love coming to La Quinta Resort & Club. The main restaurant, Morgan’s, is incredible. The whole place is such an escape — the pools, the flowers, the citrus trees, the waterfall. Every time I come here, I always tell my wife, “We should stay an extra day.”
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