When I say “flag football,” chances are most people are not familiar with the sport. Here in Barcelona, there are myriad world-class teams playing well-known sports. An example of this is F.C. Barcelona, arguably one of the best soccer clubs in the world. However, in Catalunya (the region in which Barcelona is located), another sport is rising in prominence: flag football. As someone who has always been keenly interested in different cultures and sports as well as being an active flag football player, I was very curious and motivated to find out more about the growing regional prominence of both the sport and the ASB Lynx flag football team.
To find answers to my questions, I interviewed Coach Teo Polanco, one of the most acclaimed football coaches/players in Europe and the flag football coach/coordinator of the American School of Barcelona’s very own ASB Lynx flag football team. One of the leading teams in the FCFA (Catalan American Football Federation) flag football divisions, CCFF (Catalan Flag Football Championship) ASB Lynx managed to qualify for the CCFF Open division’s finals this year, finishing in second place and making history for both the ASB Lynx Open team, and the American School of Barcelona.
|[Coach Teo (left) and Yuchan Choi (right) having an interview/ Photo Credit: Yujin Choi]|
When I asked him about the rising prominence of flag football in Barcelona, Coach Teo said that the sport is growing across Spain, but it is growing much faster in the region of Catalunya compared to other regions of Spain, with Catalunya having the most federated licenses for the sport in the country. He referred to Catalunya as “the capital of flag football in Spain,” with the “biggest and toughest teams in the country.”
Regarding the recent success of the ASB Lynx Open team’s performance in the Catalan Flag Football Open Championships, Coach Teo stated, “I think it was great to compete in the finals, especially playing with players that have been in the school’s flag football program since they were young, playing with some of the best coaches and players in the region, such as Coach Adrian, and playing with all the new rookie players.” He also mentioned some of the hardships the ASB team experienced along the journey, such as conflicts between the practice and match schedules and the personal and academic lives of the players and students.
Coach Teo and I went on to talk about the future of ASB Lynx. I asked him about the future of the flag football program, to which he replied that the school’s flag football program had recently added more elementary school divisions, allowing much younger kids to participate. Teo went on to say that the program is also trying to make a division for only females, another rapidly growing demographic in the region. Coach Teo’s goals for the future of the team are to compete in the Spanish Bowl (Spanish National Championship) and to win the championship.
|[ASB Lynx Open team after placing 2nd place in the CCFF Finals/ Photo Credit: Brian Spencer]|
As we continued talking, Coach Teo remarked, “I like to think that this sport is one of the few sports where there is a place and position for anyone, where both female and male players can play together, making it a very positive, co-ed sport”. He elaborated, saying, “It is always interesting to see students who were doubtful about their athletic abilities find their place in flag football and benefit from the cooperative elements of the sport.” He finished with the statement: “Students should try different sports, and try out different skills; it’s always good to work your muscles in different ways.”
Junior (Grade 11)
American School of Barcelona (Spain)
Yuchan Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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