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CoolBeaver83

Beauty is only pig-skin deep

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(edited)

Hello everyone. My name is Vitaly, I am from Siberian Russia, 19 years young. I have many hobbies: PC and board games, roller skating, but by far the most exotic hobby of mine is football.

“Wait, ain’t there like a million people in Russia playing football as a hobby?”

Well, I am talking about the other kind of football. The one that features a ball more akin to an egg. The one which you play with your hand 98% of the time.

I am talking American handegg football .

In my future posts I will cover how soccer’s younger and weirder brother works, and why he is so popular in America and… nowhere else.

I will focus on the state of the sport named “American football” in Russia, a country, where mere word “American” is often synonymous with “evil” and/or “stupid”.

I will also tell you a sad tale of how I was super exited to play DFS when Fanteam launched American Football, only to lose 50 euros (my entire bankroll) in a span of 8 weeks. Yep, I was that bad.

Oh well, at least I predicted Kansas City’s Superbowl victory before the season's start. So maybe not that bad.

But I digress.

I will be posting here every couple of days, but I am more then ready to answer your questions on a daily basis. I hope there are some.

NYW8_rhL0UI.jpg

Edited by KJIIOIIIKA

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Welcome to the forums! 

Pictures of amateur games of such a unique sport for most of Europe and Asia is what I would definetely like to see more of! How many people come to watch it, how do you guys train. 

Your take on the daily fantasy American football is also interesting. Did you like the format, what went wrong as far as your results are concerned, do you plan to play in the future?
 


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Welcome! That is one hell of a topic to cover here! Been wanting to learn a thing or two about American football myself, so I will probably ask you some questions. I think I saw you play other DFS games too, amirite?


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8 minutes ago, JumboJoe said:

Welcome! That is one hell of a topic to cover here! Been wanting to learn a thing or two about American football myself, so I will probably ask you some questions. I think I saw you play other DFS games too, amirite?

Hah, I only played DFS Dota some years ago on likeafantasy.com, with moderate success. Considered doing that now, but honestly my days of being nose deep in Dota are over, and I never liked watching pro e-sports in the first place. Part of the charm of real sports is in their atmosphere, which you can’t replicate as amateurs. Pro e-sports is hardly different from casuals playing, skill level aside.


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(edited)
8 hours ago, KJIIOIIIKA said:

Welcome to the forums! 

Pictures of amateur games of such a unique sport for most of Europe and Asia is what I would definetely like to see more of! How many people come to watch it, how do you guys train. 

Your take on the daily fantasy American football is also interesting. Did you like the format, what went wrong as far as your results are concerned, do you plan to play in the future?
 

I will cover my DFS struggles later, though I must admit I liked doing it, but grew tired of it pretty fast. I want to try again next season (provided that it starts, ofc).

On the topic of spectators. You know how some leagues considered playing with empty stands due to COVID-19 pandemic. Well, that's American Football games in Russia in a nutshell. Even free entry doesn't help. Here's a picture from our last year's match. Granted, there are some people, but 99% of them are friends/relatives of team members. So, not great.

stands.jpg

Edited by CoolBeaver83

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On 5/1/2020 at 9:54 PM, CoolBeaver83 said:

Hah, I only played DFS Dota some years ago on likeafantasy.com, with moderate success. Considered doing that now, but honestly my days of being nose deep in Dota are over, and I never liked watching pro e-sports in the first place. Part of the charm of real sports is in their atmosphere, which you can’t replicate as amateurs. Pro e-sports is hardly different from casuals playing, skill level aside.

I'm with you here - I like to play video games, not watch somebody play them. And yeah, I just remembered that the nickname that I saw was FightLikeBvrs or something like that, so when I saw your username here, I thought it might have been you.


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(edited)

Most people, who play DFS regularly got into that hobby due to their interest in sports. But what if I told you that in my case the very opposite thing happened: my interest in DFS led to me discovering American Football as a sport.
Cause that’s what actually happened.

Today is one-year anniversary of my first game in a starter capacity, so I thought I would tell you my rather unusual backstory. Brace for a longpost.
As a kid I was playing hockey and was somewhat good at it too. Ay my peak I was actually playing for u13 Sibir (middle of the pack KHL team) as a third line defender. However, I didn't want to pursue professional sports career (and probably would not have too much chances at it either), and with turmoil amongst our coaching staff (3 head coaching changes in 2 years) I left for good. After that I played for amateur teems until the end of my school years. So I was no stranger to physical and brutal sports.
When I was 15, my father and uncle were actively playing hockey DFS, so naturally I got interested in it. In fact, I tried to play Dota fantasy, but ended up winning 5 euros over half a year, and then the website died.
But while I was at it, my uncle suggested me to read a famous book by Daniel Barbarisi "Dueling with Kings". I enjoyed the book, but when American football and baseball DFS were mentioned, I struggled to understand what's going on. So, I went to Wikipedia for answers.
Baseball rules seemed unusual, but while I liked the idea of the sport, watching the games was boooooring.
Football, on the other hand... it was something.
The rules were long and nuanced. I loved it. Then I got to watch some games. I loved it. Then I installed madden 13 on my tablet. And I loved it.
I was in my final school year at the time, and I was dead set on applying to Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. So, I was glad to discover that "Wild Pandas" American Football team was actually practicing at FEFU's facility. Getting to try Gridiron for size was one more reason for me eagerly waiting for my freshman year.
Than another shocker happened. Completely by accident I discovered that in my hometown there was also an American football team. Even better, they were practicing at an indoor facility two blocks away from my house.
The next day I was there.

December 17, 2017 marked my first American football practice.
Wow, that was quite long. Still, it is amazing how DFS had such an impact on my life, even though I barely played DFS itself.
Anyway, in the next post I will cover the start of my career as a wide receiver for Novisibirsk American Football team "Iron Wings".

Sibir.jpg

Edited by CoolBeaver83

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Today I want to take a detour from telling my backstory to share my thoughts on something more relatable to some of you out here. Here is my take on soccer vs American football comparison.

Disclaimer: I absolutely love five-a-side football. It’s action-packed and exciting. The 11vs11 football on that gigantic pitch though… I’ve tried it a couple of times, and it really is not even that interesting to play it, let alone watch it. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

1)     General accessibility.

People say that best ability is availability, and it is why soccer is so popular around the world. The only thing you need to play it is a ball. Having additional accessories (i.e. goalposts, boundaries, a ref or two) is great but unnecessary. And you can easily have fun even if there are six of you.

AF, on the other hand, requires a more exotic kind of ball, is hard to play without ref and boundaries and you can’t full-contact variant without armor (which at the cheapest costs 100 euros). Sure, there are non-contact game (flag-football, ultimate football), but even then, they are pretty contacty and require 8 guys at the bare minimum, in my experience.

So, you are not going to see people had to playground for a AF match. Not in Europe, at least.

2)     The rules

This is really just an extension of my previous point. I can brag all I want about how unintuitive soccer’s offside rule is to me (seriously, why it works even off random bounces?), but amateurs can just play without that rule, and there are no other puzzling rules for amateurs. No one in their right mind can claim that American football rules are more comprehensive. Seriously, many of my teammates still struggle with some basic rules, and they have been playing AF for years.

In fact, pigskin football holds the record for the longest rulebook out of all sports. Not sure if soccer even has a rulebook)

3)     Spectators’ interest

Well, hard rules push spectators away from the screen. That’s a huge win for soccer.

On the flipside, I think AF is much more exciting. The action is concentrated in one spot on the field, every play is meaningful and so on. To that I would add the AF is much more brutal, and while I myself don’t care that much about the brutality, remember, we are a mere million years removed from bashing each other’s head with clubs, so many are pumped up by those crazy hits.

One more point in AF’s favor is that scores happen pretty common, especially in the modern league. The last scoreless tie in the NFL dates back to… WW2. EPL features a couple of them every game week.

I feel like Russians would have enjoyed AF a lot if they knew the rules. Sadly, they don’t. And that American in the name doesn’t help one bit. It’s funny how one guy on the internet was telling us to stop playing that American game and instead go play… hockey. Cause that’s a traditional Russian sport, apparently.

4)     Injuries

A fun fact: my only AF injury (broken toe) happened during… pre-practice game of soccer. Pure evil.

On a more serious note: American football is much more dangerous. That is bad for the sport, sadly. Professionals are fine, they are paid handsomely. But what about amateurs (like us in Russia). You don’t want to suffer a broken leg when you are the only source of profit for your family. Not every parent is ready to send his child into the fray (and rightfully so).

So yet again, soccer is the winner.

5)     Miscellaneous

It’s easier to find a team to cheer for in soccer.

There are more leagues to choose from in soccer.

AF has salary cap and draft, so teams are more equal. Good or bad – decide for yourself.

There are no international competitions in AF.

It’s very hard to find an American football field in Europe. Amateurs have to draw yard lines themselfes (using choke are white tape). Even for so called NFL “international game” in London, they use a soccer stadium with a changed the pitch (I think they played on Wembley).

Yikes that’s long… To sum it up, AF is generally at a huge disadvantage in non-America, and I just don’t see that changing in a near future.

This is something I am looking forward to discussing with you.

wembley.jpg


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Well, soccer is a lot more accessible, that is for sure. But American Football also has a certain appeal. A battle of coaches, strategies, that is what the game is really like. A turn-based strategy, almost. 


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16 minutes ago, KJIIOIIIKA said:

Well, soccer is a lot more accessible, that is for sure. But American Football also has a certain appeal. A battle of coaches, strategies, that is what the game is really like. A turn-based strategy, almost. 

As a soccer fan, do you ever feel bored watching those matches every week? I have tried watching random soccer matches for the whole 90 minutes, and I must admit, it's pretty hard for me to do so.

And on the topic of salary cap. I get it that there is hardly a way for soccer to implement that, but do you think salary cap and other means of equalizing teams is generally good or bad for a given sport?


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16 hours ago, CoolBeaver83 said:

As a soccer fan, do you ever feel bored watching those matches every week? I have tried watching random soccer matches for the whole 90 minutes, and I must admit, it's pretty hard for me to do so.

And on the topic of salary cap. I get it that there is hardly a way for soccer to implement that, but do you think salary cap and other means of equalizing teams is generally good or bad for a given sport?

Playing fantasy really helps with those soccer games, which I admit, might lull you into sleep at times. Everything changes when there are players from your fantasy team on the pitch. Although, as a fan of the game, I do enjoy just watching some games even when none of my fantasy picks are on the pitch.


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Today I wanted to continue my autobiography. I wrote a couple of paragraphs only to realize that there is a pretty huge amount of specific terms, like player positions on the field, that I can't not include (it would be hard to tell how our practices work). Yet including it led to my text being too wordy and incomprehensive.

So, I would like to ask around.

Should I write a post on basic rules and positions first? It's a pretty hard job, but manageable.

On the flipside, I could just avoid specifics and just make an oversimplified text about myself.

What do you think?

 

wings.jpg


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In my opinion you actually NEED to make a post about basic rules,mostly for acsesabilitty.I mean.....a lot of people may be more interested in your blog.Also,it will benefit you,in the sense that you will not need to get out of the way to make you'r posts more simple.

Also,i want to ask you what do your family think of you playing AF?It will be interesting to know.

 

 


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1 minute ago, Ya boy James said:

In my opinion you actually NEED to make a post about basic rules,mostly for acsesabilitty.I mean.....a lot of people may be more interested in your blog.Also,it will benefit you,in the sense that you will not need to get out of the way to make you'r posts more simple.

Also,i want to ask you what do your family think of you playing AF?It will be interesting to know.

 

 

Thanks for your opinion. I think you're right, it's just that the rules are not that simple. I will try though.

My family was rather supportive in that department. I mean, hockey wasn't any less risky in terms of injuries. And it's just a hobby. Plus, I was 17 at the time, and I was spending my own money on the hobby, so they weren't against it. They went to my only game in my hometown and watched those that I played elsewhere online.

My father likes to make fun of the hobby, but not in a mean way. And he actually dived into the sport a bit himself. We even throw ball sometimes these days.

My mother doesn't care too much. As long as I do some kind of exercise, she is happy.

My younger brother is a soccer player, so naturally we argue sometimes, but again it's in a friendly way. Just two hours ago we played real-life soccer penalty kicks, then some AF, then FIFA. Glad to say I won all 3, but he is 7 years younger, so it's not a big deal)

So yeah, they aren't actively against it. And they tell about my hobby to their friends, so I guess they approve it.

father.jpg


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3 hours ago, CoolBeaver83 said:

So, I would like to ask around.

Should I write a post on basic rules and positions first? It's a pretty hard job, but manageable.

On the flipside, I could just avoid specifics and just make an oversimplified text about myself.

What do you think?

 

 

I presume many Europeans are unfamiliar with the game rules. Some basics would be helpful, but I doubt you need to dive to deep. I would be interested to know what people play these positions in your team, what rules you find most peculiar, which ones seem illogical from the soccer point if view. 


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American football rules oversimplified.

There are two main points that separate AF from most other games. I will start with them.

1. The game is “discrete” - it has around 150 plays per game, between which there are pauses. Think tennis or volleyball.

2. Teams alternate being on the offense. At any given point one team has the ball and tries to score, the other tries to step them. When that happens, the sides change, and the previously defending team now plays on offence and tries to score the other way.

The game has four quarters of 15 minutes each with hybrid stoppage time. It is super complex, but for the purpose of tutorial think of it as running clock like in soccer with stoppage for scores, injuries and video-reviews. 

There are 11 players a side on the field at one point. However, there are a whopping 53 players total, with unlimited substitutes, so players are heavily specialized and have designated roles. In modern pro AF an offensive player only plays on the offense and never on the defense and vice versa. Even in our amateur teams there are 30+ players, so the specialization is still there.

Field is 100 yards long + 10 yards for each endzone, 53 yards wide (slightly narrower that the soccer field).

Essence of the game:

An offensive team has 4 plays (downs) to advance 10 yards. Whenever they advance 10 yards, they again have 4 down to advance 10 yards.

Team can do it via "ground game" - running with the ball, or through air - throwing the ball. The play stops when the ballcarrier is tackled (touches the ground with his body) or forced out of bounds, or if the passed ball hits the ground (incomplete pass). When the ballcarrier crosses the end line, they score a touchdown, which is the ultimate goal for the offense (typically worth 7 points). Alternatively, the team can kick the ball through the goalposts, located in the air (field goal). This results in 3 points and is typically done on the fourth down.

For the defense the goal is to stop your opponents and let your offense get on the field. 

Here is how this can happen:

Turnover on downs - the offense fails to advance 10 yards in 4 plays. The defensive teams now attack from that spot. That almost never happens because...

Punt - the offense opts to give up on the fourth down and instead dropkicks the ball. The defensive team now attacks from the spot where the ball landed.

Forced turnover - the defense knocks the ball from opponents’ hands (ground) or intercepts the pass (air). The defensive team now attacks from the spot where they did there.

At the start of the game and after scores the ball is kicked by defense, and then the offense tries to return it as far as possible. 

Whenever the ball is kicked it's called "special teams" because it is performed by "special" (in a good way) players - they don't play on neither offense nor defense. Those are typically kicking experts - often ex-soccer players.

I have found a great video, where British man explains AF basic rules and position, as well as points scoring and the like. Check it out. 

 

Instead of repeating what's said in the video, I will tell you some of the neat ideas of AF:

1. The two-minute warning.

Inside the last two minutes of a half, the play clock will stop almost always - unless the player is tackled. This bring suspense in the final minutes of the game, allowing comebacks.

2. Safety.

A glorified own goal. If the offensive team is tackled in their own endzone their opponents gain 2 points AND possession of the ball.

3. Penalty flag.

Refs have yellow penalty flags in their pockets. When they see an infraction, they throw the flag. After the play, penalties get resolved, and then the ball is moved 5-15 yards in the direction of the penalized team's endzone. There is a load of different penalties. I have actually assistant-refed one game, it's supper hard.

4. Coach radio.

One player, who is on the field can hear the head coach, which allows them to discuss the future plays. Obviously, we don't have that in amateur play, but professionals do have that. That's why AF is typically considered a coaches' game - the can direct the game plan life.

5. Scoring

There is another great video - this time about AF's unusual scoring. For one, the AF game can't end with typical soccer scores like 1-0, 2-1, 1-1. In fact, it's unusual for a game to end with single-digit scores.

 

That's a lot of text again. I wish I could make ‘em shorter, but it's pretty hard.

Next time I will talk about football practices in amateur American Football. 


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(edited)

I had a hard time going to sleep last night, so I was think about stuff, American Football included, and I remembered one bizarre and, I shall say, outright bad thing in the NFL and AF by extension. Behold - the overtime rules.

When the game is tied after regulation, the overtime sets in. However, American Football is a very asymmetrical sport. In hockey the OT starts with a faceoff, so it's everyone's game. In soccer there are two symmetrical extra halves. But gridiron has a system that I just can't fathom. 

A coinflip decides which team gets to attack first. If they score a TD on their first possession, they win. Yep, just like that. If they score a field goal, their opponents get one attack to match (and then the game is in sudden death) or score a TD (and then they win).

In there is no score on the first attack, the game is in SD as well.

I hate it. You see, the first team gets an advantage. It's like a penalty shootout, where the game can end with the first team scoring, never giving the second team a chance. And even if the first score is a field goal, just matching it will lead again to the same situation. And even if both teams don't score.

There are people, who defend the OT rules, but rarely do the do it sanely. Here are some of their points.

1) "It's a tradition". Hard to argue here, but it's hardly a strong point in the OT's defense either.

2) "Well, the team should just defend well, if they let a TD, they don't deserve to win". I strongly dislike this phrase. AF is the ‘teamest’ sport of all team sports, so just not letting half of the team on the field is unfair.

3) "There are no ties in American sports". Sound solid, until you realize, that there actually are ties in AF. In regular season, OT lasts 10 minutes, and if the score is still tied - it's a tie. 

So, what are the solutions?

1) Just don't play OT in regular season - ties are normal for American football, there are a couple every season. Nothing crazy will happen, if there are a dozen of extra ties. This reduces meaningless injury risks as well.

2) Play some real football in playoffs OT - just play two 10-minute halves of real football, have one team start one half, another start another. The problem is extra injury risks - the game is extended by 33% after all, but it's only in playoffs, where you can't preserve you anymore anyway.

3) Two-point-conversion shootout - The closest thing to a penalty shootout in other sports - attacking team starts 2 yards away from the goal line, and has one try to score. Then another team is in the same spot. Do that 3 or 5 times, highest score wins, a tie is broken by extra tries. A 2pt is successful 50% of the time, so a tie should be broken pretty fast. And that's not just my opinion - an alternative league XFL, which sadly went bankrupt due to our friend COVID-19, had this system in the rulebook. Sadly, there were no OTs in the first 4 weeks, and then Coronavirus struck.

4) Modify current OT rules, so that the second team gets to match a TD, but force teams to go for 2pt after a TD. There won't be too many situations, where both teams score a TD, and both fail\succeed of a 2pt. If that happens - repeat. Again, do this in playoff games only.

Recently, NFL was more open to modify their rules, so my prediction is that in 5 years they will adopt an alternative. Until then, there will be some bad and unfair OTs, like 2018's NE Patriots win over Kansas City in semifinals. It was one of the greatest games I have ever watched, here are the highlights. 

 

Edited by CoolBeaver83

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Before COVID-19's intervention, I was living in my university’s campus, practicing American Football there 3 times a week. Almost like an American, one would think.

However, it is way different.

Firstly, we don't get any sort of money/other benefits. We actually have to pay around 20$ monthly to cover indoor facility's cost. When the weather is above zero, we get to practice on the soccer pitch inside the campus for free, so that’s nice. Regardless, we have to spend our own money on equipment and cover travel costs and the like. So yeah, not American collage system by a long shot.

And a good half of our player have graduated years ago, so not even close.

Anyway, about our practices.

We have 3 practices in the evening, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. All are slightly longer than two hours.

We start all our practices with a 10-minute game of basketball/soccer/volleyball, then a warm-up, and the next step depends on the weekday.

Wednesday is our "play games" day. We play ultimate freesbee/ultimate football/flag football/ real American Football. As simple as that.

Sunday is our soft position practice. As a wide receiver I do some catching drills, some fine motor skills, some blocking assignments, playbook learning. After an hour of doing so, we are joined by our defense to play some man-to-man. That is a drill, where WR has to trick his opponents and catch the ball. We usually end with 15 minutes of noncontact-heavy AF.

Tuesday is our contact day. We do some extensive contact worm-up to minimize injuries, and then practice blocks and tackles/hits (well, as an offensive player I am mostly at the receiving end of those). Then we do some Oklahoma drill, where offensive player has to cross the line, while defensive player has to stop him. Sometimes it’s 2v2 with offensive and defensive lineman thrown in. We end with 15 minutes of contact-heavy AF.

Extra physical exercises are thrown in here and there (like some CrossFit/push up ladders/legwork) but not regularly. Players are encouraged to work out on their own in the gym, and many actually do that.

Sometimes we dedicate an hour to theory, or special team schemes. Closer to game weeks we have extra practices on Saturdays and those weekend practices are typically 2+2 hours long (with a break of 1 hour, when we can have a snack and some theory). We are more gameplay heavy in those days, practicing different down-and-distances, trick plays and special teams.

Our HC is our offensive lineman, while our offensive coach is also our QB. Both were invited to Russia National Team in 2017 to play in European Championship in Spain.

So, while I can’t say we practice like amateurs (where practices are 2 time a week, game-heavy), I also have to say it’s not professional either (coaches are players, no extensive physical workouts).

Obviously, I am talking before COVID-19 outbreak, as I left Vladivostok for my hometown two months ago. Nowadays I rollerblade to maintain my form (pretty bad at maintaining it). Those, who stayed in Vladivostok, do gather sometimes at a school playground.

But this season is probably dead anyway.

And that’s a shame. This season could have been a huge upswing, as we had a change at the helm of our Federation, and this season could have resulted in great changes. It was our first chance to compete with central teams in a real (non-friendly) match.

Next I will be talking about Russian AF league, and the geographical problem, that ruins it for Russian non-central teams (like Wild Pandas from Far East).

Hands.jpg


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That was a very interesting long-read. Thank you for unveiling so much about how an amateur AF team functions. 

I've always wanted to ask about how it feels as a player to do the runs and never actually recieve the ball. I know, some recievers never even get thrown a ball all game long at times. 


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1 hour ago, KJIIOIIIKA said:

I've always wanted to ask about how it feels as a player to do the runs and never actually recieve the ball. I know, some recievers never even get thrown a ball all game long at times. 

As a third/fourth WR on the team I can confirm that this can happen. But WRs do block on run plays, do have to read blitz and alert QB on that matter. In my last game a caught just two balls, one of them for -1 yard, the other for 50 and a TD. However, I dominated my blocking game versus my opponent CB. One of my blocks were deciding on a TD play. Plus, you can play on the special teams, and those plays produce some chances to make a big play. There are some guys, who are benchwarmers, however, and I guess they aren't too happy with that fact.


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(edited)

Russia is the biggest country in the world by a longshot. That is a cool fact for patriots to brag about, but for the world of sports it is actually a pretty big obstacle. KHL’s logistics is considered to be one of the priciest in the world, with teams ranging from Moscow to Vladivostok, situated 6500 kilometers apart (there are also teams in China, Finland and other countries, sure, but even without them logistics is nightmarish with 10 hours flight from Moscow to Vladivostok thrown in). But KHL is the second biggest hockey league in the world, and, I would argue, the biggest sports league in Russia and CIA, so they can manage it.

But what about amateurs?

Well, they actually are doing fine for the most part. I played one season for an amateur hockey team in Novosibirsk and never had to travel for more than 40 kms in my dozen or so matches. There are so many amateur hockey teams in the city that there is zero reason to travel to neighboring regions.

But that statement is sadly not true for Russian American Football.

AF is not popular in Russia, which leads to quite few teams being created. Sure, the situation is better in Moscow, SPB and their surroundings, where there are ~20 teams. But in the regions…

When I played in Novosibirsk, our closest rival was located in Tomsk (250 kms, 4 hours and 15 dollars per player away). Our second closest rival… didn’t exist. That right, we played 4 games in a season against the same opponent (4-0 for us in those games). There were no opponents closer, than Ekaterinburg (1500 kms away), which was too pricey for many of our players.

Not much changed in Vladivostok. Sure, now there are 3 teams in 1000km radius (Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur) + guys from Yakutsk, but 4 teams is still not that great. Last season we played a friendly with Khabarovsk, and then a 3-days-tournament with those teams, winning all 4 games. But 4 games is not a lot, and we had to pay aprox 70 $ for that.

It’s very hard to afford a trip to Moscow from Vladivostok (500$) for amateurs. But we did it last year. We went to Moscow for a week to play two friendly games there. We won both.

It was our first time playing against central opponents. Sure, those teams didn’t have some of their top players, but a win is a win. We even got a place on Russian AF teams leaderboard at 15th. Cool.

There is no way for us amateurs to play a real round-robin tournament amongst top16 teams. But there is a solution. In fact, this solution should have been tried this very season. Damned COVID…

This year our league Eastern European Super League (which, surprisingly, has its own Wikipedia page in English(!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_European_Super_League) introduced a system, where top 6 teams (located in central Russia, mostly) play round robin, while the next 20 or so teams play round robin in their geographical divisions (3-4 teams in each), winner going into the playoffs. This allows us to play (and hopefully beat) our Far Eastern neighbors and qualify straight into the semifinals. For teams in Ural it is the same, while winners from 4 central divisions will have to start from quarterfinals. The system is not perfect, but it will finally allow us to play some competitive football.

Hopefully, it stays the same for the next season.

Regardless, it will be very hard for AF to have a league akin to the NHL in Russia. Not until someone pours money into our system. And that might never happen. But oh well, who knows. At the mo, we are happy with what we have.

Next I will touch on something more relevant to these forums: my try at fanteam’s AF fantasy.

Edited by CoolBeaver83

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