How I learnt to love American Football

How I learnt to love American Football

I never thought of myself as particularly sporty at school. I went to a school where rugby was king, and I was definitely not the right shape for that (more suited to standing in as a goal post than a player).

But having been audio-describing for Sky for the last twenty odd years, I’ve had to watch quite a bit of sport and, given the nature of the job in hand, I often find myself having to learn about them as I go. Sports like golf provide a lot of visual information on the screen: the hole being played, its par, the player’s score. These all have to be provided to the AD user, if they’re not given by the commentary. Having AD’ed a good bit of cricket now, I’m getting more confident with the range of shots a batsman uses or the field placings. Thankfully, in Formula 1 the knowledgeable commentators barely draw breath, which is lucky, because there are only so many ways one can describe cars speeding round a track.

While audio describing rugby might still induce a slight wince – perhaps bringing back memories of the school sport’s field - I have learnt to love American Football. When I started describing it, I’ll admit my knowledge of the sport was pretty much zero. I’d never watched a game, I didn’t know the rules. It’s just rugby in helmets and silly shoulder pads, right?

But the more and more I’ve audio described it, the more I’ve learnt about it, and felt a deeper appreciation of it. A while ago I audio described a series called ‘All or Nothing – a year with the Arizona Cardinals’ for Sky, which gave me further insight into the rigorous training needed to compete at the top of the NFL.

And I have to say, I really enjoy when I have to describe it. I’m now much more familiar with the team rosters and the stars of the sport. I think I’ve finally got to grips with the rules and the lingo: the snaps, the plays, the seemingly endless player positions.

I particularly enjoyed last season’s gripping play offs, which were as exciting as any sport I can remember. Current favourite player? Josh Allen, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

Bring on the new NFL season. Can’t wait.

Audio described by Stevyn McDonald