Editor's Note: Texans quarterback Quinton Porter is spending his offseason playing in NFL Europa for the Cologne Centurions. He will be checking in periodically with a player diary about his expieriences.
We arrived in Germany on Thursday and indeed the day of travel was very similar I'm sure to something that would be from Hell. But since we have been here the experience has been fantastic. We took a tour of the city and visited some places that allowed me to widen the lens through which I look.
I walked into the Kolner Dom, a massive 19th century Roman Catholic Cathedral, unknowingly just as mass on Good Friday was beginning. I was startled as the procession walked right through where I was standing and the costumes and deep singing of hymms caught me off guard. I have never been to a mass before, which is strange, I know, being from Boston College, but the experience was uplifting. The Cathedral was very impressive with enormous spires and extremely detailed stained-glass windows. I wore my camera out quickly.
We then visited the Roman Museum where we learned that Cologne was actually one of the largest Roman cities outside of the Rome city limits. The museum has been built around an actual floor of a Roman's house. The floor consists of something like 1.2 million carefully placed stones painting a picture of various people and things. It was eye opening to see that floor and know that someone two thousand years ago walked there, just like I was walking on the floor overlooking it two thousand years later.
I also got a chance to make some appearances in small towns outside of Cologne to promote the Centurions and American football. The people were a lot like the folks I would run into driving north of Portland in Maine to swim in the rivers. Simple people, content with what they have, and extremely cordial and inviting. One of the appearances was to a club football game for players eighteen years and younger. The crowd was a lot like what you would see at any high school football game in America. I know that football is not of major importance here quite yet, but according to this one game I saw it seems as though the people of Germany have a genuine interest in the development of the sport in their area.
We have managed to get some football in as a team and even that is blanketed in history since I am told our stadium is the site where gladiatorial games took place whenever the show rolled through Cologne. Our General Manager gave a speech to us explaining that a Centurion is a Roman army leader who was in charge of 100 men. He explained that they used strategy and might to conquer land and pointed out how similar that is to what we act out on the field in a relatively non-violent way. So needless to say practice on Saturday was a very different kind of practice from all the football practices I have had since the age of nine.
With all of these new experiences I have mentioned and many others I have not, being the quarterback for the team representing a city with such history is an honor. However, as different and new all of this is, and as different as practice on Saturday felt, once we step in between those white lines on a green surface it is just like home. I think that goes for everyone else on the team as well. We all appreciate the circumstances and the context, but once we step on the field it is football as we know it, and we all feel very much at home.
Till next time,