How do you follow the sport as an Aussie?
Firstly, who are you, what do you do, where do you live and who do you support?
Velaga, and I'm currently a high school student in Melbourne. I'm a mad and proud supporter of the Cincinnati Bengals! WHODEY!
How did you come to support that team?
On my first trip to America back in 2006, my cousin in US introduced me to NFL. On my birthday, he took me to a Patriots v Bengals. I was in awe of the sport. After that match, it was all Bengals for me. Even though they didn't win, they played their hearts out and I absolutely loved it!
Who is your favorite player currently on the roster? Who is your all time favorite player?
My favourite player currently on the roster is none other than A.J. Green! The guy's an amazing athlete! He deserved Rookie of the Year last year, haha. He'll also probably have to be my favourite all-time player too, I honestly doubt there's going to be anyone as great as him in decades to come.
What was your best moment as a NFL or Bengals fan?
My best moment as a Bengals fan was when Dalton headed into the 2011/12 season with everyone claiming that the Bengals would ditch him the next season and take Luck with the first overall pick. Well, the 9-7 record was more than I could've asked for and that would definitely have to be one of my favourite moment as a fan.
As an NFL fan last year I participated in this activity at my school called Operation Intrepid. As part of the Operation, I sent an email to the Commissioner of the NFL – Roger Goodell – enquiring about the possibility of playing one or two NFL games, or even just training camp, here in Melbourne.
My email was received and redirected from the commissioner’s office to the vice-president’s – Mr Chris Parsons. He replied to my email telling me that he would the idea into consideration in future discussions but it’s unlikely due to the time difference. I was extremely excited when I got the email and to my surprise, he sent me some Bengals apparel; an AJ Green Home jersey (one of my three however the old ones or both Ochocinco’s so no real significance anymore, haha), a Bengals hoodie and a pair of Bengals shorts. I was amazed that Mr Parsons, being such a busy man, would send me all these things. I still wear my shorts and jersey as much as possible today.
Here's the letter:
In the holidays, I wake up at 4am or depending on the match time and watch the Bengals play on my computer since they don't show all their matches on TV but when they do, I love it. I've also started up multiple fantasy football leagues within my friendship groups and even with family members around the world. Always great to have a bit of rivalry between all of us.
Is there anything about the NFL you wish was in Australian sport?
NFL is just such an amazing sport, much better than AFL in my opinion, there should be an Australian league. The intensity of the game is amazing and there cannot be any other sport greater than football as we know it today. I reckon the AFL should format their off-season a lot more around that of the NFL.
Are you aware that there is a Gridiron league in Victoria (and in other States too)? It has juniors. I apologise to your parents in advance. Look here.
I am extremely aware that there is a league in Victoria however lots of clubs are situated quite far away from where I live so it's gonna take a lot of trouble getting places for matches if I join one. hopefully they could branch out a bit more within the city of Melbourne. I started a little american football program at my old school where boys would get together for a lunchtime game which was always a heap of fun. Now at my new school, I've started playing american football regularly with my friends and I've gotta say, it's become a hit with all of them. Hopefully there'll be more clubs in Victoria and the whole of Australia in the near future.
Is there anything about Australian sport you wish was in the NFL?
In my opinion, NFL's amazing the way it is, and nothing from AFL or any Australian sport should change it!
Which of your friends/family members have suffered the most due to your fandom?
Haha, brilliant question. Well obviously my parents and my sister. They've gone through a lot of frustration with me hogging the TV for hours at length watching NFL and watching Madden. But you know, the Bengals are a vital part of my life.
Also my friends, I've disappointed them with my lack of AFL knowledge. It's always NFL, NFL, NFL and not much time for any AFL. Sorry guys, but it's NFL all day, every day for me.
Thanks Vivek for sharing your fandom with us. It's great that you're doing your part to make sure the NFL knows they have a fanbase Down Under!
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