Groningen giants are only looking for real giants
American football is a minor sport in the Netherlands, but at Eredivisionist Groningen Giants, the love of the sport really shines through in a home game. And Chairman/player/coach Jochem Hilberdinck wants to spread that love. We’re still looking for burly Groningers!
At the Sportpark Corpus den Hoorn in Groningen, the balls are generally round. Football players at GRC and Groen Geel, hockey players at GHBS, baseball players at Caribe. They all play their sport with this boring round ball. Collectively, these clubs probably have more members than all the people in the Netherlands who have opted for the oval and played American football. There are around 2000, with the northernmost settlement in Corpus: Proud of the European indigenous giant Groningen.
‘It’s simply a niche sport in the Netherlands,’ said Jochem Hilberdinck before the second match of the competition in Corpus against the Arnhem Falcons. Hilberdinck is one of the driving forces behind the Giants, because in addition to being a player, he is the club’s president and occasionally acts as a coach. It turns out to be a niche sport when we take a closer look at the giants’ opponents. Arnhem will visit this Sunday and is the closest opponent to Groningen after Lelystad. Therefore, he travels away when the Giants play their games away from home.
“We always rent a bus. Not cheap, but we had a good deal with Drenthe Tours. In American football, you play on the field with eleven men, but offense and defense are actually two separate teams. Including the keys we have about 35 men with us. The fans also like to go to away matches, so maybe we should rent a double-decker bus, haha.”
No Pé & Rinus, Imca Marina or Kraantje Pappie
Tens of thousands of spectators and a halftime show with international superstar Rihanna – there are also no local champions Pé & Rinus, Imca Marina or Kraantje Pappie – that we know from the Super Bowl do not exist, but the fans are of course also present for the home game against the Arnhem Falcons. “What they’re doing looks more dangerous than what we’re doing on the field. They’re three on top of each other, haha,” Hilberdinck already lifts a corner of the veil. It turns out it’s not a word of lie, because the ladies literally fly through the air during the break.
In any case, it’s nice to see that they at Giants are doing everything they can to make it as attractive as possible for viewers. Ringmaster John Kamminga plays an important role in this. He himself played in the team for twelve years, but now he explains – in perfect English – what is happening on the field through a microphone. -I like the game very much, and I also like Slackdex. So that’s perfect, haha. ”
Never piss on a referee
The first half has enough explanation. For example, if an injured Arnheimer lies on the ground, he says the rest of the players, both on the field and the substitutes, kneel out of respect. Moments later, Arnhemmer walked off the court, backed by some of his caretakers, and could count on a round of applause. “Respect for each other is very important. Just like in rugby, unlike in football, we never complain about the referees,” Hilberdyke declared before the match.
Kamenga is also busy naming a touchdown in the first half, as both teams scored twice, making the score 14-14 at halftime. He does it in English, because the audience is an international group. You hear a lot of fat American accents down the line. There are also many Germans on the field. This sport is very popular in Germany. We still hope that someday a cool American student will land, but that hasn’t happened yet. We could still use some heavy players on defense. Citizens of Borle Groningen can report! ”.
Without those heavy boys, the Arnhem Falcons are very strong after the break. The giants lose 28-23.
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