American Football has quite a reputation for being a weaker, slower, cushioned version of rugby. I can safely say this is so far from the truth. I played rugby for a total of about nine years of my life all through secondary school, I studied at a school where rugby was the main focus and any other sport was seen as second best.
I grew up on the mentality that if I didn’t play rugby for the first team then there was no point in me playing at all. I then dislocated my shoulder and long story short I haven’t played rugby since just before sixth form. I came to university longing to find that team mentality, a place where you could create bonds like no other whilst playing a sport and competing at a high level, which is where American Football comes into play (excuse the pun).
Considering I think I had watched a sum total of one game during my life and throughout had no idea what was going on I think the spectacle was what made it for me. The game itself wasn’t of that much interest to me at the time, but the fireworks, shooting flames, loud chanting crowds and of course the food made it a day to remember.
In 2010, there was a Wall Street Journal Study across four different games which discovered that a ball was only in play for an average of 10 minutes and 43 seconds when the telecast lasts around three hours. So why do I play this sport? I like being able to hit people really hard, so what better a sport to play.
It is also such a good sport for keeping fit. The phrase American Football players hear most from other teams is ‘why do you need to keep fit you barely play’ it’s such a physically demanding game. Especially when I first started playing for the university, simply because we didn’t have the numbers so you were constantly on the field.
One aspect which always seems to come up is this idea of teamwork and examples of a good work ethic and camaraderie. I mean there are certain examples like if you are interviewing for a truck driver, teamwork isn’t massively important considering you eat, sleep, and live in your truck.
American Football like many sports is an incredible opportunity to show off your ability to work in a team, it’s such a massive aspect of the team. At the beginning of this blog, I wrote about seeking a bond with people and that is exactly what American Football does for you, like the truck drivers, you eat, drink, sleep and live for American football.
It has an environment that is welcoming but strives for success, we all want to do well, we all want to progress in the divisions but we also want to have fun, none of us are thinking possible NFL careers are on the line if we don’t succeed.
I think at university, work ethic is already a massively sought after attribute to a person. As a person who really thrives off of being busy, adding something else to my hobbies just fuelled my passion for doing as much as I possibly can, granted this has had it problems (it’s the main reason I constantly have bags under my eyes) but I still enjoy.
There is a point to be waffling on about me wanting to do a lot, it creates a great work ethic. Having the willpower and the work ethic to finish a day at University and to put on (let’s be honest probably dirty/smelly) kit that weighs around 10kg and run around for a few hours doesn’t sound like much, but it is on a Sunday morning when all you want to do is sleep. This sort of work life balance is a crucial benefit to take away when you leave university and head into ‘the real world’ (a phrase I hate using).
Finally and most importantly the sport itself. American Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, with the massive influx of the sport coming across from America, with the likes of NFL UK which has been going since around 2007. Over 70 American Football teams compete within the British Universities & Colleges Sport’s (BUCS) league which only started the sport competitively in 2012-13.
It’s a great sport to watch and I can promise it’s an even better sport to play. So if you fancy having a go then feel free to speak to any of the committee who will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX