Monday, July 17, 2017

Tyler Ames' Footy Odyssey, Part II

Editor's note: this is the second part of my interview with Tyler Ames. He's part of an exchange program with the USAFL and is suiting up with the Montrose Demons. Part I of the story is here.

The Darwin Buffaloes celebrated their 100th anniversary in season 2017, and Tyler was very complimentary about his time with the Double Blues. “The greatest things about living in Darwin were the relationships I made with my Coach Mark Motlop who will forever be an inspiration and father-like figure to me, my teammates, and becoming a real part of the Buffaloes family.”

He’s been mentored by Motlop, spoken to former Adelaide Crow champion Andrew McCloud, and met the Longs, Riolis and so many others. Tyler even had the chance to meet Darwin legend Ali Muir (Nicholls Medallist 1968-69) before Muir’s recent passing.

His adventures have now taken him to Montrose in the Eastern Football League, where he is taking advantage of his chance to improve as a player and student of the game. “I still also feel like I have a lot of untapped potential and I’m continuing to improve leaps and bounds each and every week,” Ames said. “I hope after a full season here and an entire offseason of hard work and dedication, I’d really like to contest for a regular ones spot with the Demons and hopefully play a role in getting a flag.”

Tyler said he’s played all over the ground. He worked almost exclusively as a ruckman with Darwin, which involved some transition since he played the forward line as a Denver Bulldog. He’s been all over the field with Montrose, but says he’s most comfortable at centre half forward and rotating into the ruck position at times.

“(Playing in Australia) has been nothing short of incredible in every sense of the word. For someone who is just experiencing footy for the first time really to embark on a journey like this has been mind-blowing. The thing that I think strikes me most is the culture of football and the community aspect that surrounds it. What I learned very quickly, especially in Darwin, footy is family and family is footy and I’ve never seen anything like it in the world,” he said.

So if the USAFL wanted someone to truly immerse himself in footy and in Australia, they found their man. It’s something Tyler has trouble believing. “In all honesty I still wake up and can’t believe I’m actually living this life. I’m so unbelievably fortunate and there’s still so much that I want to experience and get out of my footy and my Australian adventure,” he said. “I do still have high aspirations of being one of the best American players and I’d like to represent our team in the 2020 as well as the 2023 footy World Cups.”

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