I was so nervous, I almost didn’t turn up for the first rookie day. All these thoughts clouded my head: what if everyone is really clique-y, what if I can’t do the drills properly, what if I get out of breath and everyone laughs at me?! I’m a pretty anxious person so doing a new thing, especially a team activity, is really daunting. I needn’t have worried though. Everyone was really welcoming and inclusive – I felt like I’d known them for ages after just a few sessions.
I chose to go to all 3 rookie sessions, but don’t worry if didn’t make them – they basically act as introductory sessions to the team and to the sport. On the day we tried different positions on offense and defense and then, when the “real” training started, you’re assigned a position. I was fortunate that I already knew a fair bit about the game (admittedly from Friday Night Lights and playing Madden too much) but you didn’t need to worry if you don’t know anything about the rules or positions. Everyone is there to help everyone else.
So, after the rookie days, I officially joined as an Offensive Line(wo)man. This is a perfect position for me as it is very much strength based. For us, the O Line is made up of a Left Guard, a Centre and a Right Guard. It soon became apparent that the line are really a “team within a team” – it’s crucial to communicate with each other and synchronise to make sure we do our job: protect the QB! We train twice a week and it’s really motivational to see us improve as a team!
I won’t pretend it’s all been easy- I’ve been stressed, bruised, tired, but above all, I have been and continue to be grateful. Grateful to have a chance to play this game, to meet these beautiful people I now call my friends and grateful to see that I am capable of much more than I realised.
Now, trust me, I know that all sounds like the biggest cliche but at the core of cliches is truth. It is great to be a Bear – I can’t imagine anything better and it’s honestly the best thing I’ve done – Join the cub!
#77 Alex Jelfs