It was another great day to play some football on Kenyan soil given the perfect weather that was being experienced. The sun had just shown its face to bring brightness and cast away the gloom that is the extremely cold weather that had engulfed the city in the sun for the past few days.
The big boys of university of Nairobi’s Nyati were once again on a mission. A mission to grow the good game of American football in the country. Their quest had gotten them to the vibrant Nairobi primary school just off Mamlaka road not very far from the university.
Now, the American football scene in the country has come a long way from obscurity to a status that is definitely not as huge but for the simple fact that it has sparked so much interest in Nairobi and its environs.
The realization that this sport is alive in the country has had a wow factor on the public that is astounding even to the players themselves. There have always been inquiries on where the sport is played, who plays it and most definitely how it is played.
With this in mind, the players sort to start a countrywide crusade to get the sport to the grassroots and get more people into it with the ambitious goal of starting a youth league and a collegiate league in the near future and create a strong foundation for growth subsequently.
So on Thursday, the players in conjunction with the administration of the school had organized a practice session, well it was more of a demonstration session for the game to the kids.
The reception these players got from these kids was unbelievable given the fact that this game is just in its initial stages in the country. The excitement, enthusiasm and interest displayed was just out of this world. As it turns out, there is a lot of untapped talent out there just waiting for an opportunity to step up on to the stage and participate in this game. Yes, the fact that it’s called American football regardless.
On Thursday, American football transformed into a global game of friendship and laughter and interaction with jovial and willingly interested kids. Of cause there were moments of pure bliss when some seemingly laid back pupils showed exceptional and unbelievably natural skill in handling, throwing and running the football. And it was a fairly big number too. We couldn’t help but realize that this had been a long time coming and needed to be scaled up exponentially in order to tap talent this early for the sake of longevity of the sport.
So this simple activity of demonstrating the game, with players stationed in different places with a bunch interested and eager faces waiting for a chance to participate in this sport quickly escalated into a flag football game with coordination of the players, coach Dan Eck, coach Teddy(JKUAT SPARROWS) and KFAF Chairman George Alwang’a.
The turnout was great and the sheer energy displayed was just so encouraging. The rest of the players of course tossed and threw the ball around with the rest of the kids and everyone was clearly having some good fun. The day ended abruptly with the bell ringing to signal the end of the session. It was a hustle getting the kids to get into their buses and leave for their homes because of how engaged they were and captivated by the game.
At the end of the day there was a lot more interest displayed with kids coming up to the players and coach Dan and inquiring when we shall have the next session. A couple of parents also came up trying to find out more. At the end of the day, there was a unanimous conclusion that right there in that field in a partly chilly and partly sunny day in Nairobi, there had been a spark. A spark that needed to be fueled in order to get it to fire status. As the Nyati captain Tony Okello would say, ‘we are just getting started!’
Coach Dan had this to say, “This was a huge impact on for me, my players and the kids mostly. the level of excitement and energy you cant find somewhere else. am happy we come out today and would love do do it again sooner to another primary school.”