Where no American has gone before
160 Have your say
So you have an opportunity to play a code of football at the highest level and yet you have so many questions.
Well, you can be expected to run a half marathon over the course of the game, play on a field that is twice as long and three times wider than any NFL field has to offer and yet has more in common with basketball than American football.
You’ll require a nutritionist simply to get you through the game and a heightened level of awareness, as no offside rule exists.
Scoring is the most frenetic of all of the football codes that any country has to offer. Time outs only occur when players are removed from the field by a stretcher and the crowd only ever dares to leave their seat at the end of each quarter break. The one fact that you have the most trouble with is the size of the playing field. You will take photos and tweet about it. It’s just enormous.
The vast majority of the 310 million born and bred sporting mad people that populate your country have never heard of this code and not one of them has played at the top level.
Of the 229,000 people that populate your home city, not one person you know has ever heard of it, with YouTube your only friend.
And yet it has been around since 1858. To the Americans who have no idea, they will call it rugby. To those who know a little, they will call it Aussie rules. To Australians, it’s simply known as footy.
While the five years of college have been good to you, things haven’t gone the way you expected.
But opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.
So when your agent calls with this bizarre opportunity you grab it with both hands. A corporate job and the life as Mr nine to five will be there for life but this small window to create history and become the first American to do so is yours for the taking.
This is the true story of a 24-year-old American by the name of Eric Wallace. Today it become official, he is now in the hot seat to become the first born and bred American to play in the Australian Football League.
The North Melbourne football club have provided him with this opportunity. Finally, the Roos have stepped up to take on the role of building an international recruit. If Eric had been drafted by the Sydney Swans his debut would have been a formality.
If I had to choose one other club that is capable of making this work, I would have said the Kangaroos. I say this for two reasons. First, Eric is already patient, honest, fair and loyal. This is the shinboner spirit and is what the Kangaroos expect of their players.
This is a fantastic fit and will be an awesome story. Secondly, Brad Scott is a no nonsense coach who wouldn’t take on a player unless he knew it was going to work. Already it has given the Kangaroos a lot of publicity and once Eric plays his first senior game, I have no doubt the jumpers will be flying off the shelf in the USA and it will increase the North Melbourne global fan-base.
And finally, Eric becoming the first American to do something, there will have to be a movie about it at some stage. I’m not sure who would play Eric, but I’m thinking Tom Cruise with some shoe lifts would be a good fit for Brad Scott.
To Eric I say good luck mate. If they don’t make a movie about you, you may just open the flood gates for more young basketballers who want a different path.
Start a kicking program for American High Schoolers, you could make a fortune.