European Eagles Report

As I cycled home this evening into the freezing, horizontal rain of this most beautiful of English summers, I found myself - for reasons that I can't quite understand - thinking about the Eagles.  Unfortunately, I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about the Eagles these days, but when I do I get pretty emotional.  Just as well it was raining.

The emotions dealt with, I figure that I can probably muster a European Eagles Report (EER).  This being the inaugural EER, I don't really know what's wanted or needed, but I'll give it a shot.  

Upon careful consideration, it occurs to me that I'm the only Eagle knocking around in Oxford, and noone wants to know what I get up to on a daily basis, except people who like playing with lasers, making black holes, or smashing things together at about the speed of light...  Instead, I'll try and shed some light on a passtime that has become such a common sight, yet is so shrouded in mystery that the common belief is that it arrived along with adam when he was knocking around without any clothes in the garden of Eden (do you reckon that all adams have a thing for nudity?).  This is probably true, but as far as the Eagles tradition of CHUCKING A V goes, I'll divulge it's beginnings for those interested.  For those who'd rather leave it in the depths of folklore, please, look away.


The story of the V begins* in the fading light of a cool spring day in Ashburton, at what is almost definitely the worst place to practice AFL in New Zealand.  Hampstead Rugby Club with its swift water race behind one set of posts, dense line of bush behind the other, shit lights and closely neighbouring properties on the far boundary was the setting for this humble beginning.  The original words, as I remember them, came from the man himself.  THE original Eagles coach - forget MAL, Jim and myself - WORMS put the ashburton in the Ashburton Eagles.  He'd arrive at training smoking on a fag that seemed ready to fall out of his mouth at any moment, with his expensive sound system in his shitty wee hatchback pumping for all of Hampstead to hear, and start complaining that everyone was late.  Brett "WORMS" Worner introduced the V to me - amongst his utterings of "NO U-TURNS" (to which James was once heard to reply "Is that a rule, or just a suggestion"), "SHUT UP FEZ" and the like, he should be held accountable for that amazing piece of AFL coaching.  "IN THE V".  

For those new to the game, "IN THE V" refers to a handball situation.  If someone is trying to offload the ball, you as the receiver should not make him turn to give it you, shouting at him when you're behind him - instead, you should work to get yourself in a position where you're in front of him, so that he can easily offload the ball.  The recent addition is that when in this position, you yell things along the lines of "I'm in your V Harry!!!", though their name would probably do.

The rest, as they say, is history.  "IN THE V" became THE key point in all Eagles training sessions thereafter, and very soon the requisite raised arms were added to the phrase.  Before long, and I believe to this date this is true, THE V became a universal intra-Eagles communication - used to express gratitude, joy, drunkenness and even at times anger.  From humble beginnings the V has risen to greatness.

That's all I've got - there is no more.  For those new to the Eagles Family, enjoy it.  It's more than just a laugh on a saturday - you make friends for life, and if you're lucky you might even get to travel and do other sweet shit on the back of the sport itself.  If you've decided to get involved in the organisation - well done - you'll see how much needs to be done behind the scenes, and doing some yourself makes any team achievement seem all the better.  Finally, good luck for the season.  A few seasons back, we played the best game I've ever been involved in, and beat the Cougars 20-15-135 to 2-3-15 - when it all went right, it was easy.  And SHIT DID IT FEEL GOOD!

Next time you're chucking up a V, think for a second about the man who introduced it, and chuck an extra vigorous one for WORMS and all the Eagles who've gone before you.  I know I will.

Over and out from Oxford, UK
Sam Whitehead

*my personal experience - may not be the original V introduction


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2018 CAFL Season