By Grant Brown – Grant is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad 2013 Fall Correspondent who is studying abroad at Sichuan University, China. He is from DePauw University.
Grant Brown – Fall 2013 GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Correspondent
I came into my study abroad experience with an open mind and a spirit of adventure, and as a result I’ve had some crazy opportunities during my time in China. On July 6th, 2013, the American Football League of China (AFLC) was founded with the intentions of creating the first competitive league for football in China. With 8 teams in this national league, and encouragement from the NFL, the sport is quickly gaining support and recognition throughout China.
Just last month, as I was hanging out with some Chinese friends at a local pub, I was invited to attend a practice for Chengdu’s American Football League of China team, the Mustangs. So not really knowing what to expect, I showed up on a Sunday afternoon thinking I would just watch the team practice. But much to my surprise, midway through the practice, I was asked to take some reps at quarterback with the team. The Chinese athlete that currently plays quarterback for the team is very new to the game of football, and can barely even throw the ball. So even though I haven’t played tackle football since middle school, when I stepped in to take reps with the offense, I was immediately more successful. By the end of the day, I became a new quarterback for the Chengdu Mustangs!
On November 16th, I traveled with the team to Guangzhou, located in the Guangdong province, and played in my first game against the Guangzhou Tigers!
I played quarterback for the majority of the game, in addition to playing on defense as free safety.
Warming up before the game.
I finished the day with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and an interception while I was playing defense.
Reading the play in the huddle.
We ended up winning the game 34 to 0, in what was an amazing experience for me during my first game in the AFLC! Meeting Joe Montana who was in town to support the effort was just icing on the cake.
Team photo after our 34-0 win!
I will continue to play with the Mustangs up until I return home in mid-December. Our next game will be a home game against the Hong Kong Warhawks on November 30th. I’ve been having the time of my life in Chengdu, and hopefully I will continue to have unique opportunities like this before my time abroad comes to an end!