As a long-time New Englander, I'm a big fan of the New England Patriots football team. Usually there's not much connection between Germany and the Super Bowl. But this year the Patriots team features a starting right tackle - Sebastian Vollmer - who also happens to be a German national:
The 30-year-old began his unlikely path to New England when he took up the game as a teenager in Dusseldorf, Germany. And it was watching quarterback Tom Brady, the man who he is now charged with protecting, lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title which helped fuel the fire of a journey which first took him to Houston and then to the professional ranks.
Asked if he had advice for any aspiring American football players in Germany, he said: “I did that 13 years ago. I watched the 2002 Super Bowl with the Patriots and I’m here now. If that’s your goal, keep at it, it might work.”
Vollmer attracted plenty of attention on media day on Tuesday compared with many of his team-mates as he fielded questions from the German journalist contingent. Despite that, the 6ft 8ins, 320lb offensive lineman does not feel like an ambassador for the country or continent of his birth.
“I don’t see myself any differently to any other player,” he added. “Just knowing what a great experience it has been for me, I would like some other German kid to go through that just because it’s been amazing. Whatever I can do, I will do, but, other than that, I just see myself like any other offensive lineman.”
After the amazing come-from-behind victory for the Patriots, Vollmer was asked by the German media how it felt:
Im Moment habe ich da keine Wörter für. Aber Deutscher oder Amerikaner, das macht für mich keinen Unterschied. Mir geht’s einfach nur darum, das Ding als Sportler zu gewinnen. So richtig realisiert haben wir das hier noch nicht.