The Off-Season: Withdrawal Level – Madras

It’s hotting up.

In the blink of an eye the Academy Come & Trys have already finished – with an average of 18 attendees per session up at Gateway Academy in Tilbury, the coaches have been quick to express both their gratitude and their pride to all those that came. And some of them were even awesomely good already.

I made it down to one and I saw that with my own eyes – several minutes after someone asked me which one of the attending 16-year-olds was my son (I am 24. I am from Basildon but come ooooooon!) and I decided I needed a better moisturiser and more sleep. I will say this though – if any one of them was my son I would have been mightily impressed, and we’re so pleased that so many parents came to watch the session and let us know how much they, and their sons, enjoyed it.

They’ll be moving on now to Football 101s – a very important part of our introductory process where we combine classroom-based learning and on-field practice. I’ve been trying to wriggle in on one for years, as most of my pre-Spartan American Football knowledge comes from Noughties American Football movies (Remember The Titans, The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and that scrummy rapper that chews sticks who’s name I can’t remember, etc.) and that episode of Friends where they beat the lights out of one another in the park on Thanksgiving day.

It’s nice to see the sport permeating popular culture in such a way, isn’t it?

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we’re having a first for us this year and are celebrating the American holiday as a club. We’ll be down at The Spread Eagle on Queens Road, Brentwood from 5pm next Thursday 26th November. There’ll be turkey, there’ll be beers (and wine, spirits, diet Coke and fizzy orange if that’s more your jam) and they will be screening the Thanksgiving Day NFL games there too. Any and all are welcome to join us for a drink, some food and a game or two – please come along!

So it’s almost time for the long-awaited Senior Come & Trys, which have been bubbling away in the background for a while now. We’ll be at Chelmsford this Sunday, and we’ll also be visiting the bright lights of Dagenham, Southend and Billericay in our search for future MVPs in the coming weeks.

Stay cool, folks – see you on the field!