Tuesday, 16 June 2009

American Football Part 1 (NFLE)

Funny title, without any scores or anything else, I know.

But there are more and more things happening that make me realise how big a role this plays in my life...

Lots of my friends and family think I am mad to put so much time into the Wolves, specially with all the other stuff going on in my life. But it is MY choice (and I am not doing it because DH is so involved in Football on different levels). And I think even DH doesn't understand that part in full. ;)

I am an American Football fan since 1992 - went to the last ever Frankfurt Galaxy game in the WLAF (I think it was against the Monarchs although could have sworn it was against Sacramento Surge) with my big sis, her friend Suse and my friend Alex.  LOVED the sport (just couldn't get into Handball, Volleyball or Soccer - primary sports in Germany), the atmosphere ... just everything.  And then there was nothing ... WLAF disappeared, but the Galaxy Fans (yep, nobody saying anything to the contrary!) brought back the team by collecting signatures. In 1995 the "slightly" modified league (i.e. no North American Teams anymore) started again, I went to a couple of games, and for 1996 - 1998 I had season tickets. 

It is a great sport to make friends, either fans of your team or the opposition. No stupid fighting like at Soccer matches, no "sectioned" seating like in so many other sports. It's really a family outing, and the Germans took to it like a duck to water, including pre-game BBQs in the car parks. :)   I learned the rules quite quickly (yup, I was hooked, not like the girls who are just going because of good looking players  - although... well... there were some hunks out there on the pitch ;) - or because their boyfriends were going) and was fairly good with the penalty system as well (ok, not 100% sure what requires 5/10/15/20 yards or 1/2 distance penalties, but hey - I was/am still learning. :D ).

Then, in October 1998 I moved to UK through internal transfer at work. I'm sure I went to a game in Frankfurt in 1999 before I contacted some Claymores Fans about travelling up to Edinburgh for the Galaxy @ Claymores Game.  And just the way it is I contacted the Chairman of the Edinburgh Fan club to get info of Youth hostels etc ... and got an invite to stay at his flat if I wouldn't mind spending the weekend with Claymores fans (said chairman is now my DH! ;) ).

NFLE in Scotland was different to NFLE in Germany ... no BBQs in the car park for starts, but that was the only negative thing really. It's more the interaction between players and fans. In Germany there was not much interaction ... full stop. They were treated like NFL players, were ushered off to their bus after the game which was in the stadium compound.   With the Claymores there was after game stuff, meet players (who were moving around freely, speaking to fans etc.) and not just for interview and then ushered away by miked-up staff... and Player Sponsorship (I sponsored one player by myself and co-sponsored a player who came through the Wolves ranks with DH)  and I still have the signed photographs and player jerseys.

I loved that!! Made lots of friends who I am still in contact with (Hi Flick, Scott, Rob!! ;) ).  That and me moving to Edinburgh made me change my NFLE team to the Claymores ... with Galaxy being 2nd team. And that never changed until 2005 when the Claymores were "moved" to Hamburg. :(  We even went to the 2003 training camp while on holiday in Florida and it was fun meeting up with the players.  And we kept in touch with some of the staff, e.g. assistant equipment manager Tanny Fernandez, who's helped us a couple of times with questions regarding Wolves kit.

All over Europe I have now more friends/acquaintances due to the NFLE, and I like that fact. Not necessarily lots of contact, but with the Internet there's still the odd contact. :)


Ok... that took a bit longer than I thought ... I'll better split this post into parts over the next couple of weeks... ;)


Heather said...

Kat - that was really interesting to read. I obviously know of your love of American football (and admit to sometimes being amazed at the amount of time you and Doug put into the Wolves) but I didn't know your back story. (Or that you got (and accepted?) an invitation to stay overnight in the flat of a man you didn't know!!)

Kat said...

LOL ... well, it was with about 4 other fans, and I was sleeping on the couch. Nothing dodgy there... :)