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Download the KUAM e-book "MFL Rocks!"

by Jason Salas

Guam - Since the moment my grandfather sat me on his knee in 1982 and taught me about a curious sport on television by saying simply, "See that guy wearing number 34? That's Walter Payton. Watch him.", I've been hooked on football. The game fascinates me both in its complexity and simplicity, forcing athletes with the agility of gazelles to occupy the same compressed space with those possessing the brute strength of rhinos.

The strategy behind moving an oblong piece of leather filled with air across a field (and conversely, preventing such intent) amazes me as much today as it did then.

So with great passion I approached covering the 2011 Miller Football League season. Our goal at KUAM Sports was to create a complete media product, delivering every nuance of The MFL Experience to the reader, listener, viewer and online user, beyond the mere boxscore or play-by-play quip.

Thus was born MFL Rocks!, my Monday column that (hopefully) brought unique perspective to the league. I worked tirelessly to get to know those players that were simultaneously my customers and my commodity. I set out each week to capture the raw emotion, intensity and aggression of football, coupled with island sensitivity.

And, God forbid, a bit of humor.

The MFL again featured four teams - the DOCOMO Chargers, the Cars Plus Rams, the Pepsi Warriors, and the defending champion Shell Hal's Angels. Such an economy of scale allowed me to really understand countless subplots behind the cog that drives the MFL's great success: its players.

There's a strong human angle to the MFL that merits attention. From the solemn pregame prayer after the shocking death of Pepsi Warriors wideout Steve Alcantara to the midfield melee in the championship game between the Angels and Rams, this was a season like no other.

It made for great theatre: an intriguing script brilliantly performed by a talented cast set against the backdrop of the gridiron - without doubt the most intriguing stage in all of sport.

With the season now behind us and the Angels having defended their title in dramatic fashion, beating the Rams in the Miller Bowl, as an author I'm all out of all out of similes, metaphors, analogies, anecdotes, allusions, allegories and all other literary devices. I now just reflect. And I realize I'm truly lucky.

I had a season pass for games I'd gladly pay to attend; I had the best seat in the house when I'd happily sit anywhere; and I was able to talk football to a massive audience with an insatiable appetite when I'd be perfectly content yakking with the person sitting next to me. I got to share some amazing real-life stories, entertain people with insight perhaps not used before and capture incredible competition in realtime.

I was just happy to be part of it.

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