Kickin it, Aussie-style5/18/2016
There was once a time when ESPN consisted of a singular channel — ESPN. Go figure. There was no ESPN II, ESPN III or ESPN Classic. It was just ESPN in all of its youthful glory.
Every day of the week, you could set your clock on Chris Berman pegging another ingenius nickname on an athlete. You could bank on SportsCenter having the latest results of the all of the previous night’s sporting contests, complete with highlights. And, of course, you could bet the farm that you’d get to see that one sport with the guys running around in asscrack-wrenching shorts, knee-high colored socks and a leather thing that looked like the result of an ugly one night stand between a football and a basketball.
Yes. Australian Rules Football.
Back then, the sport was non-existent here in the States. Sure, you could get your friends together in the park, overinflate the only leather football you owned by 20 pounds and try to kick it between the oak trees, but it wasn’t the same; it wasn’t Australian Rules Football.
But in 2009, two brothers and a native Australian set out to change that, and the Des Moines Roosters, the only Australian Football club in the state, was born. Seven years and a Division 4 championship later, they’re still around, and co-founder Tyler Kamerman is as excited as ever.
“I describe it as ‘tackle soccer,’ ” he said. “There’s really no correlation between it and American football. It’s much more free-flowing, there are no offensive or defensive lines, and there are no offsides.
“It looks like chaos, but it isn’t. It’s more about finding the open spaces.”
The object of the game is to kick the football between a series of four goal posts. Which posts the ball goes between will determine how many points are scored. If the ball is kicked between the middle goal posts, 6 points are awarded. If the ball is kicked between a goal post and one of the behind posts, 1 point is awarded. A point is also awarded if the ball is carried or forced over the scoring line by the attacking team. The ball can be passed around between teammates in a series of fashions, and the winning team will be the team with the highest number of points at the end of the game. Players are not allowed to throw the ball, tackle above the shoulder, push another player in the back, intentionally trip or punch another player, to name just a few of the no-nos.
Kamerman said the sport isn’t for everyone, but they welcome all newcomers who want to give it a shot.
“This is more for the guys who want more than slow-pitch softball and golf. Nothing wrong with those sports, but for someone like me, I just didn’t want to settle into that in my 20s,” he said. “We’ve had some ‘studs’ who came in, went to a couple of practices and gave up. It’s not easy. But if you’re willing to learn something new, are able to run and are willing to get in good shape, we’d like to see you.”
Training is open to the public, Kamerman said, and men and women alike are welcome to participate. No experience is required. Practices take place Mondays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. at Waterworks Park. Light-to-medium contact is typical at regular training. Participants should bring a water bottle, running shoes, cleats (optional) and a red and white shirt.
Spectators are welcome, too, Kamerman said.
“We love to see people there. Usually we have 60-80 people on the sidelines,” he said.
All in all, it’s good, high-flying fun — Aussie-style. CV
Des Moines Roosters
Club President Sean “Chicco” Chicoine.
Coach Paul Fradd