If Nick Riewoldt had the chance to start his sporting career again, he’d probably try his hand at becoming a professional NFL player such is his love for the sport.
Since meeting his Houston-born wife Cath and becoming somewhat of an adopted American, Riewoldt’s passion for US sports – particularly NFL – has only grown.
And the St Kilda skipper says it’s no secret he is “obsessed” with the foreign football code.
“I practice it probably more than I do kicking the footy at training, it drives the coaches insane that I’m constantly trying to throw spirals,” Riewoldt says to Aflplayers.com.au.
“My teammates all take the piss out of me, they think it’s pretty funny. They get stuck into me that it’s too late to become a quarterback.”
He might enjoy throwing the sherrin around like a pigskin but it took a little longer for the 33-year-old to adjust to the cultural differences between American and Australian football.
While he loves the tradition of tailgating – hosting a large social pre-game event outside the stadium – Riewoldt steadily became accustomed to the hype surrounding semi-professional football.
“College sports is something I never really understood. I couldn’t understand grown people cheering so hard for students, it’s just something that didn’t really wash with me.
“But having spent a lot of time over there particularly Baylor University – my wife’s family are seven generations Baylor and they’ve got a house in Wako specifically to attend Baylor sporting events – and being really immersed in the culture, it’s really grown on me.
“I’m fortunate that Cath’s mates have been really accepting of me as an outsider and we go to a lot of college, NFL and Rockets games together. I’m a huge NFL fan, I play fantasy NFL and we have a league down at the Saints where we have a live draft every year which is a lot of fun.”
— Sports Where I Am (@sportswhereiam) August 14, 2016
Riewoldt has the luxury of his wife’s family showing him the ropes in Baylor, but when exploring the NFL scene across the country he relied on the guidance of a new piece of technology.
In the form of smartphone app, Sports Where I Am, the St Kilda champion was able to search for sporting experiences occurring in a specific city.
Sports Where I Am provides information on sporting events in the surrounding areas where you live or where your travel plans are taking you. Search for the location and the app will reveal a selection of events in the area while also providing activities before the match, including the best places to visit for a meal, parking advice and ticketing options.
“A lot of the information on the app is actually provided by fans who have actually experienced something at that stadium themselves. So if I go to a game at NRG Stadium in Houston to watch the Texans and went to a really good Mexican restaurant or a BBQ joint beforehand, I can upload that to the app and provide that information to other people to access when they attend the stadium as well,” Riewoldt says.
“So it’s really interactive like that, fans can really upgrade the experience for other fans which makes it really exciting.”
*You can now find information on sporting events in seven major Australian cities. For now information, visit the Sports Where I Am website.