Sean Shelton's Reaction To His First IFAF Game

By | 4/29/2014 10:51:00 PM Leave a Comment
Sean is a guy I met through Europlayers. He played his college ball at William Jewell College and is a fellow Floridian! We have had some good discussions, so I asked him to write a little blog and give an insight into his first experiences of playing in France. This season he is playing QB for the Elancourt Templiers (currently 5-2 on the season)!  Keep up the good work my man!  


  I have been living in Elancourt, France for nearly three months and have six FFFA Elite League games under my belt, but this past weekend was my first game of international play. My team, the Elancourt Templiers, is competing in the IFAF Champions League this year and last Saturday we played our first opponent within the league, the London Blitz, in Elancourt.
            This game was very different from the prior six games my team had played in for many different reasons but mainly because there was a whole different level of pride involved in this game. The result of this game would not just a viewed as representation of which team was superior at football, it would be viewed as a representation of which country is superior at football. This is a dynamic of international play is one I have never come across before in my sixteen year career. I did not really realize this until the two national anthems played before the game and each team held up their countries respective flags. At this point it became very clear to me that I was going to be helping represent French American Football during this game.
            Another emotion that was elevated during this game was passion. There is something about a team from one country, competing against a team from another country that brings out the nationalism in people. The attendance of this game was three times the amount of any home game we had played prior to this past weekend. And you could tell this was no longer a casual event to attend on a Saturday night, the crowd was emotionally involved in the game, cheering on their respective teams. I made the comparison after the game that I feel is the best way to explain the environment of the game to Americans. Last weekend was similar to Americans watching a World Cup soccer game. Soccer is a sport that has been developing in the states for years and a sport that most Americans, besides true soccer fans, do not really pay attention to, until international play. Once the World Cup comes around, people I have never even heard say soccer are yelling at their TVs and cheering on players they have never seen play before because it is no longer about the sport. It is about your country being better at something than another country. Now I know the Elancourt Templiers is not Team France, and the London Blitz is not Team Britain, but this elevated passion was the case for last Saturday’s game.

            Although my country was not competing in this game, nor did I feel any amount of nationalism during any point of the game, it was an awesome experience watching the people around me, especially the crowd, be so passionate about a sport I love and it is for this reason I an definitely looking forward to going to Barcelona to play our next IFAF game in May. And I guess going to Barcelona in general isn’t so bad either.

-Sean Shelton


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