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UWM The Leader

A growing sport is sweeping through the country and has found a strong base here in Milwaukee. Australian Rules football, also known as Footy, is a game similar to soccer, rugby, and American football.

 

In 1997 there were only four footy teams nationwide. Today the sport has grown. Currently there are 35 clubs and over 2,000 players nationwide.

 

Andy Ciganek plays a major role in helping the club grow at UWM and southeastern Wisconsin. He and others close to the game are promoting the sport in schools in the area.

The Leader's Athlete of Every (Other) Week

By Kyle Sorvick

 

 

A growing sport is sweeping through the country and has found a strong base here in Milwaukee. Australian Rules football, also known as Footy, is a game similar to soccer, rugby, and American football.

 

In 1997 there were only four footy teams nationwide. Today the sport has grown. Currently there are 35 clubs and over 2,000 players nationwide.

 

Andy Ciganek plays a major role in helping the club grow at UWM and southeastern Wisconsin. He and others close to the game are promoting the sport in schools in the area.

 

On Oct. 1 and 2 the city of Milwaukee hosted the Australian Rules Football Championships, where Ciganek and his team finished second in the country.

 

Name: Andy Ciganek

 

Sport/Position: Australian Rules Football/Full Forward

 

Class Standing/Major: Ph.D. Student/Business - MIS

 

Favorite Movies: Braveheart and Gladiator

 

Describe Yourself in 10 words or less: I'm smart, but not too smart

 

The Best Part of UWM: It's so close to home. I grew up in Milwaukee

 

When I'm not on the field I'm most likely...In my office, studying

 

One Thing You Might Not Know About Me is...That I have 6 sisters. Two of them are Firefighters.

 

In your own words, give a brief description of Australian Rules Football.

Think soccer, but freer flowing and full of contact and you can use your hands. College rules eliminate some of the more technical aspects of the game to focus on skills.

 

How did you first get involved in Australian Rules Football?

I started the UWM club in the summer of 2003. In 2000, I started playing Footy just by word of mouth. Once I started playing, I fell in love with it.

 

What type of sports background did you have before playing Australian Rules Football?

American football, track, soccer, wrestling, baseball. I pretty much did it all. I was looking for something different. In a way Footy is all of those sports combined.

 

If you could pick one highlight from your career what would it be?

This past weekend, we finished second place in the nation. A few years ago Milwaukee didn't even have a club, and to get as far as we have in the last few years has been exciting.

 

Australian Rules football appears to be a very rough sport. What was the worst injury you received during a game?

Probably damaged pride. Sometimes you make a mistake on the field that affects you more than most injuries. But most injuries that do occur are leg injuries from running. There aren't too many injuries that are from impact such as head injuries or concussions.

 

How are you able to balance being on the road with the team and working on your Ph.D.?

It's a delicate balance. You have to set priorities: school first, footy second. It's just a balancing act and knowing what your priorities are.

 

How is the Australian Rules Club at UWM affiliated with the professional team in our area, the Milwaukee Bombers?

Until this past summer, UWM players have filled in and played for the Bombers. We hope we can change it so we form our own team and play against the Bombers.

 

What type of future do you see yourself having in Australian Rules Football?

Once I graduate, it isn't likely that I will stay in Milwaukee area. My future is probably developing a new league wherever I am going to, or I could play for a team if that area already has one.

 

How can UWM students get involved in Australian Rules Football as players or fans?

They can visit www.milwaukeebombers.com in the coming weeks there will be a more prominent place for UWM students to go from there.

 

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