Helmet to Headset
This piece was written by Jamal Clay, a frequent contributor of Globally Ballin and the founder of "The Athletes Forum"
I had the chance to be a part of one of Europe’s best football programs. When I started playing for the Calanda Broncos they have not been where they are today, it’s cool to know I really was part of the journey to where they are today. The journey was an up and down one, in 2007 we had a big game to win, it was the finals against Geneva and the game was crucial because it was the relegation game (to advance to the highest swiss football league). Unfortunately, the night before the game a couple friends (broncos) and I went to Zurich. One of us got in a fight and I tried to help him. I got stabbed in the liver and he got stabbed in the stomach, then they stabbers ran away. Other broncos helped us getting the ambulance, but it was clear that we couldn’t play the next day. This was one of my bad moments, but luckily I had way more ups during my career. Fast forward a couple year to winning the EFAF Cup in 2010 and having a perfect season was definitely one of my best moment as a player.
Despite the rocky journey you always want to progress in life. Did I ever think I’d be able to start my own a team? Somehow yes, because the idea of building my own program was there from the very first day, I went to football practice at Landquart. It was just a matter of time until we finally had the courage to put our own program on its feet. Now the most important thing with a new program is the team spirit. The players need to work together for the same target and they need to have fun. A lot of players in Switzerland are very good athletes, but when it comes down to the gridiron, they are selfish and blame others for failing. Since I started playing football, I was somewhat of an emotional leader within the team (sometimes more and sometimes less) but with that ability I think I will be a good leader of the Glarus Orks.
To be able to start up a team in my hometown, it means a lot. I mean the average “Glarner” (that’s how you call the guys living here) is very open minded, loyal and direct. We already knew we have a couple of talented athletes in our canton and we also know that the average Glarner will bring his heart on the field. That’s why most of the Glarner’s that played for the broncos will be remembered as a good teammate and friend. Now building something where I grew up and making new friends is very special to me. Also, it allows us to help grow American Football not just in Glarus also in Switzerland. There were a lot of obstacles and maybe we were a little naïve about how much it takes to run your own program, but it is all worth it at the end.
We want to build a sustainable program. Our goal is that in 10 years there still will be the Glarus Orks. I learned a lot from the broncos about that and what it takes, and we will go through a lot of ups and downs. Another goal is to make an event from American football. Like in Chur, we want people coming from different parts of Switzerland to watch a game, also helping our canton to get more popular. Our short-term goal for our very first season next year is to build a solid foundation and have fun doing it. Long term goal (10year +) is to be establish in the highest swiss football league and compete for the highest honor (Swiss Bowl Championship).
My message to our program, “I try to get better every day. So, should everyone else”
- Coach Mauro Buehler