Yesterday, football season started early for me and Matt, and ended for the Dublin Rebels. Who are the Dublin Rebels? They are one of many American football teams here in Ireland, and we just happen to know a player on the team. A co-worker/friend of Matt’s named Henry, plays for the Rebels, and he supplied us with tickets to see his team compete in the championship game here in Dublin. There was absolutely no way I was going to miss this, especially since this will be the first time I will be absent for a football season back home. Sigh…
We arrived at Shamrock, yes Shamrock, Stadium and made our way in under cloudy skies. The field is usually used for soccer or rugby, but they converted it to football standards for this game. Well, some standards were off, like the shortened field – which excluded the 50 yard line – game clock, play clock, scoreboard; you get my drift. There was a crowd of over a 1,500, which was promising, but upon hearing conversations around us, I quickly learned most of the fans were there to support, and not because they know football. For example, we overheard a girl ask someone near her why they were kicking the ball through the posts, to which the reply came, “he’s kicking a 3 point conversion.” WHAT?! Field goals are obviously not part of their vocabulary. And yet another time, a woman asked her husband how long American football games last, to which he replied, “3 to 4 hours.” Her reaction was much the same as mine above, with a “WHAT?!” And finally, about halfway through the 3rd quarter, a young man and his girlfriend walked by on their way out, and we overheard him say, “American football is quite possibly the most boring sport in the world.” Little did they know, that was actually not the case for this particular game, as it was entertaining and fun. More on that later.
My next observation: referees. I’m not quite sure they completely knew the game either. They were missing off-sides penalty calls, had multiple problems bringing out the chains to measure the first down, and once even let the opposing team decline a false start penalty. However, it seemed as though they were trying to do their best, and no bad call ever impacted the game in a drastically negative way.
All this aside, the game itself was both entertaining, and exactly why we came out in the first place. We were impressed by the amount of ex-collegiate football players, including Henry, and the athleticism that they still attain. Their running back was quick and agile, and could easily cut his way through the impressive offensive blocking for extra yardage. Their quarterback threw a dazzling fade route into the endzone at the very beginning to put the first points on the board. Henry, a captain for the team, started at defensive end. He thwarted a quarterback sneak with a sack at the beginning, stopped anything that came to his side, and again helped the quarterback taste grass with a hard and surprising blind side hit toward the end.
Most importantly of all, the Dublin Rebels won the championship game in style, 15-0! This was their first championship win after making it to the finals the past 3 years, and they undoubtably deserved it. We were lucky enough to partake in the heavy celebration later that night. Another blog post for another time… 😉