American Football (2013-2014)
Football is a national pastime beloved by Americans. The sport made its way overseas when a European league was created in the ‘90s. In 2013 I spent two weeks in Norway, a country not typically known as being aggressive, which allows each team to hire three American's to coach, play, and inculcate the culture of football. The team provides an apartment, cell phone, gym membership, and a small financial stipend. While in Norway I stayed with Jake and his Canadian teammate for two weeks. The intention was to follow him around and get a sense of what it is like to travel abroad and play a sport in a foreign country that has no culture for it. Jake played football at Marist in Poughkeepsie, NY and was recruited to play on the Norwegian team after graduation. In sports, a team becomes your family. During my time with Jake and the Norwegians, I saw how integrated the American players become and the relationships that grew with the head coach and teammates. Families invite American players into their homes and lives.
A year and a half later I joined Jake for his last game of the 2014 season. They had a chance at winning the most games that season, a rare club achievement. Growing up in sports I came to understand how much of being on a team is like being a utilitarian family. There is a unique intimacy. A community comes together to help lift these young men up, and as I spent time with the coaches, I saw how much their love of the game connects them to the players.