Sunday, February 19, 2006

No Expectations, and Good Times

I did take some time off today from my world curling domination to try my hand at professional football. Unbeknownst to most, I was invited to a tryout for the Green Bay Blizzard. The Blizzard play in the Arena 2 Football League.

Most of the time, when Arena teams have tryouts, anyone can go, so long as you pay the fee - anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars. Myself and a few others were granted an exemption from the tryout fee, and that had alot to do with my going all the way up to Appleton for the tryout.

They were given my name by someone at the minor league level, and they wouldn't tell me who, but near as I can guess, it was someone from the Evil Empire. When I was invited, I called Zimm, who has some connections with the Empire to see if he knew anything about it. After talking about it for a while, Zimm offered to drive up there with me to see what it was all about. He had a chance to talk to the coaching staff about getting his foot in the door, so he was happy, and I didn't feel so bad about him driving all the way up from Racine to get me at quarter to six this morning.

As for the tryout, if you haven't guessed by now, I don't have a professional contract. But I am really glad I went. I had absolutely no expectations about going, and I feel that I performed WELL above my expectations of how I would. There were about 100 guys there, including six quarterbacks. I rated myself no lower than the second best QB there, and I didn't feel that I was very far behind the other good QB. He had EXCELLENT footwork, but his throws were a little erratic - which was surprising given how well he moved.

I was able to throw through all the targets that they asked, and was given a brief opportunity to run some skelly drills ( WRs vs DBs ), and felt really good during the drills. The ball came off the hand nice, and my dropbacks felt smooth and on depth ( I've been working on them ALOT this off season, so it was nice to try it under live circumstances for a change ).

The solace comes in that they didn't offer any of the QBs a contract, but that didn't surprise me. Near as I could tell, they only offered two contracts overall ( a linebacker/fullback, and a wideout/defensive back). Keep in mind, 80% of the roster is two-way players. Arena football only allows two 'specialists' on the team ( one for offense, and one for defense ). Quarterbacks and kickers are a separate bunch, and they don't have to play defense.

They did invite a couple of the skill guys to camp, but without contracts. Would I have been in a position to go play for them, even if they did offer? I dunno. They help you out with housing, but AF2 doesn't pay all that well. Arena 1 does, but not AF2. But it was still fun to go, and I'm glad I went. Who knows, maybe after this season, I'll give it a shot next year.


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