Welcome back, FFL Universe! It’s been a bit more than two months now since the Tribes won Belgian Bowl XXIV, and I know you guys are all back in training, so I figured I might as well get training as well. That means y’all shouldn’t expect posts on a regular basis for a while, I’ll just write when I have something to say (I’m thinking perhaps once every two weeks, but we’ll see what happens).
I’m going to keep things simple for the first post of the season, so here we go :
My Top Ten wishes for the 2011-2012 FFL season
10 – That the Diamonds get their field re-sodded.
No disrespect to the FFL’s most northerly team, but that field is a disaster area. Surely the local council or whatever you call it must see that work is neccessary?
9 – That all FFL teams play, and complete, the junior season.
Absolutely crucial to the future success of the league are the kids coming through. They need to be trained up, and given the chance to show what they’ve learned against others of their own age before stepping up to the seniors. They need the best coaching possible at that age because they’ve got so much to learn in so little time and let’s face it, football isn’t easy to learn.
8 – That the gap between top and bottom teams is severely reduced.
There are always going to be some teams better than others, it doesn’t matter what sport and at what level. But the gap between the top of the FFL and the bottom is extremely large. The NFL Carolina Panthers were a dead awful 2-14 last year, but did you know that their average loss was just 16 points? By comparison, the Gent Gators went 2-6, their average loss was 37 points, and I should remind you that the Gators didn’t even finish last.
If the bottom teams improve, it will force the teams above them to improve as well just to stay ahead, which all leads to everyone getting better. More players and more dedicated players going to training all the time would help here, but I’m sure you hear that often enough from your coaches.
7 – That teams get a little more adventurous on offense.
It was very refreshing for this reporter to watch the Shotguns last year. Their spread based offense forces defenses to adjust to them, rather than just do what everyone else does. Teams without a dominant quarterback in the FFL still try to play pro-style football. Never seen Georgia Tech, Army or Navy play before? There is more than one way to win a football game, and it would be nice if people started to look for some other options.
6 – That there are no nasty injuries.
This goes without saying. Hoping to see everyone back out on the field this year.
5 – That tailgating before the games becomes more common.
I said last season many times that there’s nothing like watching a good football game with a few mates, and what better way to start off a football Sunday than chowing down and drinking a beer with those same mates.
There’s a reason that tailgating is so popular in the USA, and the reason is this – it’s fun! Do try it out people, if you get the chance (I admit it will be a bit tough if you have to play in the first game on a Sunday straight after a hearty brunch, and let’s be honest, nobody wants to see your breakfast a second time!)
4 – That after a disastrous midseason loss, a head coach channels his inner Jim Mora and launches into the “Playoffs?” rant.
A lot of you may never have heard of Jim Mora Sr, but run a youtube search for “playoffs?”, sit back, and enjoy. By the way, while you’re at it, also search for “diddly poo”. I do love a good coach rant, and one way I’m thinking of to improve the FFL blog next season is to interview coaches and players after the games.
3 – That there is some sort of movement on the National Team front.
Having spoken to the man who knows about such things, I can tell you right now that there will be no national team brought together this season. The national team will have to be built from the bottom, and that means that point 9 (see above) is going to have to happen for a start. Also coach education is taking a more prominent role so that the proper foundations will be in place to build the team itself on top of.
I’ve said before that playing national team was one of the highlights of my career but I can understand the need to begin at the beginning and avoid the “souffle effect” (nice quote, Lesley). So as I mentioned before, the two key things to look for here are the junior season, and coach training.
2 – That Belgian Bowl XXV is even bigger and better than Belgian Bowl XXIV.
A tough call for the organisors but one that has to be made. Putting the game itself aside, I thought that the organisation was excellent. Of course there will always be some minor points but nothing that can’t be improved upon for next time.
Belgian Bowl XXIV set the bar very high, let’s see if the 25th edition can’t jump right over it.
1 – That somewhere, some time, the FFL gets some mainstream attention, attracting more fans.
Fans. This is what we need. People who go and have a look at the games who don’t neccessarily know anyone playing. Or people who do know people who are playing, it doesn’t matter – the more the merrier! I know it’s not easy for people to come along and watch, because our sport isn’t exactly easy to pick up.
However, this is one problem I’m willing to tackle myself. At some point (probably starting around November or so) I’ll be posting a series of blog posts intended to explain our game to people who might have checked out a game before but really have no idea how it actually works. I’m hoping that a few people might pick up a thing or two and just maybe we’ll actually get some people watching the game who cheer at the right times!
The FFL Blog
So what’s on tap for the FFL Blog this season? Well, you can expect a pretty similar product to last season. I’m hoping that the writing itself becomes easier so I can write more with each post. I will probably be away for a couple of weeks in April so if anyone fancies themselves as a bit of a writer I’m happy to lend you the blog for a week (anyone who reads Peter King each week will be familiar with the concept of a guest writer).
I’m thinking that this is the season that touchdown celebrations are becoming completely illegal (I’m also thinking that this is the dumbest rule in the history of sports), so I’m also thinking to add a ‘touchdown celebration of the week’ to either the Monday or Thursday blogs once I go twice a week much later in the year. I’ll get the ball rolling in a couple of months’ time (those who play their football in Izegem know exactly what celebration I have lined up), and then it’ll be up to you guys to do better than me! The bigger and crazier, the better!
OK, I think that that’s about all for now. If you have a question or a comment you can always leave it here, otherwise hit me up on facebook. Until next time