Birmingham Lions set to explode ahead of their big match this weekend
They’re banned from drinking 48 hours before
The annual xpLosION match usually attracts over 3,000 spectators, so it’s no wonder the boys are a bit nervous.
Our American Football team, the Birmingham Lions, will also be supported by Pussycat’s cheerleading squad for Saturday’s big game.
We spoke to Social Sec Laurence Matthews, who plays wide receiver, third year Jeremy Hassan, who plays outside linebacker, and Coach Hill ahead of the match.
How do you and the team prepare for such a big game?
Jeremy: “On game day we have a team meal which is special just for xpLosION and a shirt awarding ceremony. Playing in front of such a large crowd does bring its own challenges. Keeping nerves in check is a must and is something that comes from the veterans who have been there before. There are lots of media opportunities, as well as a large presence on campus the week before, which is a great way to get everyone excited for the game.
“The music in the changing room is normally pretty loud and as a team we have a bit of a pre-game chat from Coach Hill and a team chant we do before kick off every game. Personally I am fairly quiet on game days, and will normally be found with my headphones on listening to the same set of songs each week, and of course I have to wear my lucky pants.”
Describe what it takes to be a Birmingham Lion
Jeremy: “Enthusiasm, effort, commitment, dedication, passion, desire, camaraderie and brotherhood.”
What is your favourite aspect of American Football?
Laurence: “First and foremost I love the whole idea of having set plays and scheme. I’m known among the offensive guys as being very geeky when it comes to playbook things. But mostly I’d say this year it’s been all about the physical nature of the game. As a smaller guy I love going toe-to-toe with the bigger guys as a challenge.”
Jeremy: “For me it is the team camaraderie. Few sports afford you the chance to have over 120 team mates and the social aspect this provides is unrivalled. Win or lose we do it as a team and there is always someone there to celebrate with you or give you a hug and those are some of my favourite memories so far.”
Do you enjoy pairing up with the Pussycats?
Laurence: “The Pussycats are really invaluable to us as a program: from their amazing performances at every year’s xpLosION to their support on game days they are really a great allies to have. I don’t know many other girls that would stand on the sideline in the cold and the wet cheering us on. We normally go out with them on socials as well, so having the cheerleaders our friends is a vital part of the whole experience.”
Jeremy: “Being able to share our socials with them each week is obviously a lot of fun. I think that in terms of xpLosION it’s just as big an event for the girls who have trained as hard as we have in recent weeks to put on a stunning performance.”
Why do you think American Football is less publicised in the UK compared to many other sports outside of University level?
Coach Hill: “I think it is becoming much more publicised especially with the NFL games at Wembley, three last year four this year. We also sent 55 members and 14 coaches to Tottenham for a training session with the famous Detroit Lions.”
How do you prepare your team for games?
Coach Hill: “We practice hard and the lads are banned from drinking alcohol for 48 hours prior to the match.”
Get yourselves down to the Bournebrook pitches on Saturday, at 16:30pm, and show your support for the team.