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Last Updated: Friday October 24 2008 14:46 GMT

Ore feels the crunch in American Football


For me, American Football was a game that people played because they couldn't play rugby!

I've always loved rugby because of the strength, speed, flexibility and teamwork you have to use, and the fun you have while you play it. I didn't think I'd say it, but I had to use the same skills and had the same fun playing American Football.

I don't think my rugby-playing mates will let me get away with saying that when they read it!

Kitting up

First things first, I had to get kitted up. To start, you've got to have a helmet, shoulder and chest pads, running trousers with thigh, knee and hip pads - the list really does go on!

I was playing with the London Olympians - they're one of the most successful amateur American Football teams in the UK after having won 10 national titles in 12 years.

I didn't learn too much about the rules of the sport so getting involved in training was all about throwing my weight around so that I didn't look to silly on the pitch! In the tackling drills, it was important to tackle with the shoulder from a low to a high position... let's just say that my training partner swapped pretty quickly with someone else!


Next I got involved with some team play as part of the offence (the attack). I was a receiver, whose job is to beat the defence, catch the ball and score the touchdowns.

It definitely wasn't as simple as it sounds - my marker wasn't getting tricked by my silly faces or my looking in the wrong direction. Once I did get past him though, I still had to catch the ball. Out of around five attempts, I did it once... but what a feeling - time for some end-zone celebrations!

Time for a challenge

Then it was time for my kicking challenge - to kick for goal under the pressure from an entire opposition team.

I'd learned how to do it in training, but doing it in a match situation is totally different. The snapper throws the ball from between his legs to the holder who catches it puts it upright on the ground. Then it's my turn as the kicker to kick the ball, with the whole thing happening in under 1.5 seconds.

I felt the pressure but once I'd made the kick the team and I shared quite a lot of high-fives!

I'd had a great time with the Olympians and I hadn't had such an intense work out in a long time, so that was good too. 'Don't knock it 'til you try it' is what I kept saying to myself on the way home... I'm still aching, so it may be a while before I try it again!