Last year’s rookies share the pearls
We’re just a few short weeks away from the start of the Lions’ Season 4 Rookie Camp, kicking off 24th September (@ 11am), so we thought we’d provide a little insight into what it’s like to #BeALion, and a rookie, from those that have walked the walk.
Introducing D-Linemen, Abi Fitzgerald and Alex Wadeson, who joined us, around about this time, last year, for the very first time.
What prompted you guys to come along to one of our rookie sessions, and indeed, then decide to join the team?
AF: I joined the Lions because I wanted to try a different sport other than the more obvious options for women of hockey or football, as I’d done both of those in the past and wanted to try something new. I also wanted to meet new people and be part of a team environment again.
AW: Ever since watching the NFL I’d always wanted to play. Expressing my interest to a friend about the sport, she told me all about the Birmingham Lions and from that day I knew I had to get involved. Turning up to the first session, I did feel nervous, not knowing what to expect, but they say first impressions count, and with that in mind, the coaches and players welcomed me with open arms. I felt part of the team from day one, and from then, I knew I’d found a great bunch and knew I wanted to be a Lion’s player.
What were your expectations of the season ahead before you took to the field (ahead of game days) and did they change during the course of that first season?
AF: I expected to be played as a reserve as my team-mate in the position I was playing played for Great Britain. I also expected that when I did play I would maybe get a few plays, however my expectations changed dramatically throughout the season as I got more game time, which I hadn’t anticipated but which I was really happy about. This meant taking drives in turns which initially I found difficult because I felt I was just getting into the swing of things before being replaced for my team-mate but after a while I adjusted to this way of playing, as it gave me an opportunity to assess my game (mid-game) and watch others better than me so as to further my skills.
AW: Knowing that the Lions have many international players in the squad, I thought I wouldn’t get much game time, which I was fine about because I’ve played sports where they put the best players on to win matches, and obviously being so new, I thought I’d just work hard and learn at training and look to take a chance next season, but that all changed, when I went to Sapphire round 1 [first game day/competition] and got pitch time! After only training for a few months I was on the field and to know the coaches trusted me to do a job felt amazing.
What has ‘being a Lion’ meant to you this season?
AF: Being a Lion this season has meant a great deal to me. I have been a part of many teams before however, the Lions isn’t just a team of coaches, players and physio’s, it feels more like a family, and that’s a special thing to be a part of.
AW: Being a Lion has meant a lot to me this season. Turning up to training is not always about the hard work you put in on your own but as a team who have laughs along the way, and I’m playing a sport I really enjoy! I am very proud to be a Lion.
What are you looking forward to most next season?
AF: I’m looking forward to developing my skills as a footballer and gaining a better understanding of the game.
AW: I’m most looking forward to another season with a great squad, who work together to achieve but also more hard work and determination from myself to become a better player, both physically and mentally. I also cannot wait to get back on the field to hopefully show everyone how the Lions keep improving and improving.