Most of us already know that San Marcos is an incredibly interesting town, chock-full of colorful people. We have our own river, the university, we even have our own sport: Unicycle football. It was started up in 2008 by a man named Marcus Garland and it’s exactly what it sounds like, good ol’ American football, except, every player is riding a unicycle. San Marcos is the first town to have it’s own organized Unicycle football league. I went to the game last week, and stepped aside with a few of the people involved to ask a few questions about this sport that makes San Marcos so unique.
Bradley: I’m Field Marshal Bradley and I’m the on-field announcer for Unicycle Football – most of the time.
Bradley: It was started about seven or eight years ago now and it consists of full contact football on a unicycle; they have to kick, they have to receive, everything has to be done on the wheel, and they play on asphalt. It’s a mean time and they have a lot of fun doing it.
I know that when I heard it was full contact, my first reaction – and you might be asking the same question – was what? How does one tackle a person on a unicycle, while on a unicycle? And is that safe? Well, I learned while watching the game that the players are encouraged to use the least amount of force needed to push their opponent from their unicycle. This is also where flags come in – making it what is called a flackle game. So, now, to ensure a little bit more safety, there’s the additional option of pulling off your opponents flag.
It’s just fun, it’s rowdy and it’s fun.
– Dane Walters
Dane has been on the asphalt for five years now on a team called the Ill-Eagles
Dane Walters: The sickest birds of prey on one wheel.
Dane shared with me, at the game last week, one of his favorite stories looking back at his Unicycle Football, or U-F-L career.
Dane Walters: I like to think back to our first game ever, actually, the last game ever played next to Tantra, and we were huge underdogs, it was our team’s first game ever as well. We practiced every day for two months going into this game. It came down to the end of the game and we were down five points I think, and it was fourth in goal, and there’s four seconds left and I turn to my quarterback and I’m like, “hey, follow me I’m going to block for you” and I go for it, I’m not a very good rider at this time, so I just completely miss my block, and I’m turning around like (slow motion voice) ‘I’m sooorrrryyy’ and then as I’m turning, the ball just ends up in my hands! And I scored a touchdown and we won the game.
Dane likes to credit joining the Unicycle Football League as the best decision he’s ever made. And he’s definitely not the only one who feels that way. This is Ryan Bobo, also known as Bobo Erectus, a player for The Rolling Blackouts.
Bobo: I stumbled across it, and I just couldn’t stop smiling. I thought it was a great thing to do, a great way to spend your time, and is a cool little counterculture part of San Marcos so I ended up getting in with a few of the guys playing, picked up a wheel, and it’s all history from there.
Everyone in UFL is super welcoming and supportive to anyone who thinks they might be interested in giving the sport a try.
Bobo: You don’t have to buy a wheel to play, my wheel’s broken, a lot of people will lend you a wheel, it’s a very tight knit community so once you get in there, it’s very easy to play. I think everybody has a competitive nature, you just got to find the right medium to be competitive with. So UFL kind of gives that to weird people like us.
Bradley: Just show up, we put new people on unicycles all the time. We have eight teams this year with nine players a team so we have almost 80 people who are so competent at unicycling that anybody can help you out. Just put them on a wheel, we’ll help you learn, and if it works out, we’d love to have you on a team.
Another way for people to get more involved in the UFL community, besides showing up as part of the audience, is by becoming a Unibrawd. Lauren Vulpee is new to the Unibrawds but a long-time fan.
Lauren: We don’t call them cheerleaders, we call them jeerleaders with a “J”. We’re there to support the athletes and do our own cheers and just add an extra element of attitude to the game.
The Unibrawds are a huge part of Unicycle Football. They heckle the crowd and the players, they do dances at halftime, they raise money with a raffle every week, they create a field goal post with their bodies if a field goal post isn’t available and they help set up and break down all the pieces for each game…
Lauren: I think you should definitely come out and see a couple of the games, you’d be surprised at how amazing these players are and how athletic they are and if you decide that at any point you want to be a unibrawd – we take men and women. So come on and come talk to one of us and see if you can get in!
Unicycle Football is one of a kind. But, it is without a doubt, the people involved with the sport that make it so exceptional.
Bradley: My favorite part of unicycle football is just the community. It’s really, it’s a hodge podge of families and old folks and young people, and we have a great time. It’s every Sunday from August to May. And we’d love to have everybody out to join us, bring your kids, bring a beer, do what you gotta do, come out and have fun with us. It’s a good time.
UFL is now at a new location, at Gold Crown Billiards on West San Antonio street. Thanks for listening, this is Sydney from the Other Side of Radio’s Show and Tell, reminding you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
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