Perhaps like me, you are also a fan of football from across the pond? NFL American Football is certainly becoming more popular here in the UK, with a growing number of players at clubs and universities up and down the land, and three or four official NFL league games at Wembley and Twickenham every year. I love it.
And now, less than a month into my UoB American Football experience, I am already rubbing shoulders with the best players across the globe – as we were invited to train and coach with the Tennessee Titans in London, preparing for their game at Wembley with the LA Chargers.
Friday morning 8am sharp: wake up to scramble around for any Nike trainers. I’m a big Adidas fan but it turns out the NFL are not, they have a commercial agreement with Nike to protect. The NFL has sent a coach to pick us up from campus, but their main message ‘No Adidas allowed!’
We arrive in west London looking like a poor man’s Nike ad, but we’re soon watching the Tennessee Titans train ahead of the Wembley clash on Sunday. Watching the players train, even if you aren’t a fan of the NFL you will be mesmerised by their speed, strength and skill. If you are a fan of the NFL, you will find it hard to stand still.
Luckily, we didn’t have to stand still. On the contrary, I didn’t stop running. I was assigned to quarterback drill with Rashaan Evans, a Tennessee Titans linebacker. Together we got a great opportunity to coach young school kids how to throw, and show them there are plenty of opportunities in the UK to play American football.
Wrapping up for the day, the kids and us wished the Titans good luck in their upcoming London debut game. We headed back to Birmingham feeling a real sense of achievement – and all at no cost to us – before settling down in front of the TV on Sunday afternoon to watch the big game.
These opportunities are available in many sports from the conventional, all the way to American football and many more, so get involved!
You can find out more about sport at Birmingham here!