Five Things I’ve Learned In One Year Of: All Britball, All Day, Every Day. #4

Six hours in a cold London coach station between 2am and 8am gives a lot of time and incentive to reflect upon the decisions you’ve made and what you’ve learnt from making them. Thankfully, when your ‘job’ is a writer, self-reflection is almost the same as work.

One year in to taking a gamble on trying to make a life, and one day a living, waffling about British American Football, I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learnt in a quick mini-series.

First up, I learnt that at the heart of it all, are people.

Secondly, I realised  if you’re a fan of American Football in the UK, you’re living in a blessed time for the sport.

Third up, We’re barely scratching the surface of all the Britball we could be talking about!

Quattro: By the Power of Britball, We have the Power!

Never before has there been a greater chance of a British athlete making it to the NFL.

Once upon a time it was near unheard of, and while slowly but surely we’ve seen British ballers making it to the very pinnacle of the game, in most cases this was typically British born athletes, but who’d spent their formative years in the States.

Football’s an incredibly complex game, and often those lucky few who make it to the big league have been engrossed in the sport since their childhood – something previously simply not attainable in the UK… until now!

With the growth of the Cadet, U17 and U19 games, there are more and more opportunities for young, talented individuals to get into the game early and begin building their skills.

Further, we’re seeing institutions emerge with stronger and stronger links to the other side of the pond, academies and outfits that have established great track records in placing talented Britballers into NCAA Football Programmes.

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First and foremost amongst these, the Bristol Academy of Sport’s Pride have found repeated success in finding pathways for players to get opportunities to ball out in America.

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This year, the spotlight has particularly shone on Alex Jenkins, a Pride product who as part of the NFL’s Undiscovered programme has a spot on New Orleans Saints practice squad through the 2017/18 season, recording his first NFL sack during the preseason and with aspirations to make it on to a roster by next year!

He’s one of a handful of true British products on the cusp of making it to stardom, and even those athletes who may never see the bright lights of the NFL have earned themselves amazing experiences, and often a heavily subsidised education, over in the US.

With other programmes and academies emerging, and increasing attention being paid to the NFL about the potential of non-domestic athletes to enhance the game, there has never before been a greater time for talented Britballers to potentially build a life upon their Britball skills!

 

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1