The Struggles Of A Reformed Football Stud (UPDATE)

Illustration for article titled The Struggles Of A Reformed Football Stud (UPDATE)

Robert Lunn is a former defensive tackle from UConn. He graduated in 2008 and is now playing professional football — in Pörtschach, Austria. He's graciously shared some of the things he's experienced so far.


Lunn is no stranger to blogging, either. Some of his musings can be found on his personal blog "Thoughts From A Fat White Guy," guest appearances on Chris Cooley's blog portion of his personal site, and a blogger for the newly launched


I, like many a football stud (the term is used loosely), have enjoyed the residual benefits of college football: The "game after the game," so to speak. Earlier in this space, I was quick to call my Austrian teammate Peter a "man-whore." The reaction back in Storrs, Conn., was even quicker: "Well, ain't that the pot callin' the kettle black." OK, fine. But that all ended after three years of college. That's when I met my current girlfriend.

During my first three months here in Klagenfurt, she was back in Connecticut, finishing her degree. Me, I played the eternal wingman to my single American teammates. Sober Sally. All Swedish, no Finnish. And I was fine with that — I missed my girlfriend. Staying faithful is a part of growing up. But I also learned a very important lesson: There is no more powerful aphrodisiac on Austrian soil than a total lack of interest. It's almost as if they could smell the commitment on me. Never in my life have I been so attractive to women as I was during those three months. Tall ones, skinny ones, fat ones, short ones — all of them falling at my feet. There was one fräulein who asked to buy me a beer. I declined. Then she asked me if I was single. I replied, with expert timing, "No, but my friend Ryan is ..." She turned, gave him a once-over, turned back and said, "No, I ... ummm ... likes you better." Thus crushing Ryan's ego but proving my point: Disinterest can be most interesting.


Coach Bradley is an odd sort of coach. It takes a special type of man to come over here and try to teach this level of football to kids who have essentially no background in the game. Sure, you're coaching at the "professional" level — but you're coaching athletes whose sports background consists mainly of faking injuries and rolling around on the ground. You're coaching soccer players. So in a lot of ways, Brads was the one leading our "This is Austria" rallying cry. You remember the whole FUBAR thing in Saving Private Ryan? "This is Austria" was sort of our FUBAR.

Football coaches rarely just say, "Aw, fuck it," and Brads, sporadic Vietnam flashbacks aside, is nothing if not a football coach. But when he came over to our castle, drank a beer with us on the porch and told us he was heading back to America to tend to an emergency, what he was really saying was, "Aw, fuck it," and what we Americans collectively were thinking was, We're fucked. Getting drunk with your coach is one thing. Getting an entire organization dropped into your hands is another. FUBAR.


The most historic victory in the history of our entire organization was followed by the most embarrassing loss. The St. Pölten Invaders (an ironic name in the land of the invaded) are a class below us, and yet they completely outclassed us on the field. Fourth-quarter injuries forced me, the former collegiate defensive tackle, to play middle linebacker. I wasn't bad. Mike Ditka, or at least Todd Orlando, would've been proud of my "flow over the top." Still, it wasn't a good sign. When the final series degraded into a volley of cheap shots, I found myself getting an earful from the head referee.


"Yooou are allowing zees madness to happen. You are lozing con-trol of your team!"

"No sir, you have lost control of this game through a series of bad calls and overall awful officiating."


File that one under "Things Lost In Translation." Final score: 36-27.

In our locker room after the game, I caught an eyeful of the referee lathering himself in the the shower and thought my career had hit a new low. I was wrong.


The real low point was the six-hour journey back to Klagenfurt. It came shortly after the bus driver started selling beer to my teammates. He was sort of like the creepy older guy who parks outside your high school, selling weed and Genny Light out of his burgundy '92 Honda Accord. Soon enough, the bus was full of drunk Austrians, and a bus full of drunk Austrians is about as much as, well, a bus full of drunk Austrians. And all I could do was allow zees madness to happen.


You guys asked. That's her in the photo above, with my mom. Enjoy, animals.


Can you please take down the picture of the sister. Just got an earful
from her and how "inappropriate" what they were saying was, after she
read some of the commenters. Try growing up with three sisters.


(Ed. Note: Done! You get shirtless dudes now!)

Robert Lunn can be reached at Share your thoughts with him. He's a big boy.