I understand you haven't been in the U.S. for very long. What's been the biggest adjustment from a cultural standpoint?
The main one is we've been up in Green Bay since we arrived in the country in March (with the Packers), coming from Melbourne, a big city, to a small town. That's been one of the biggest changes. Everything else is pretty similar. The food's a little different, obviously. And then the driving. Driving on the other side of the road, the other side of the car — everything's so completely opposite.
You played Australian rules football. How would you go about describing it to someone who has no understanding of it?
I get that question a lot. It's completely different than American football. Everybody kicks the ball. Everybody has the same sort of skill set. It's on an oval, and you can move the ball 360 degrees. So you have goals that you have to kick the ball through, but you don't necessarily have to go forward. You can go backward or sideways. It's mainly keeping the ball (away) from the opposition. If you have the ball and they don't, they can't score.
Does it have some elements of rugby?
I guess rugby and soccer. Soccer because you can go anywhere and rugby because of the physicality. It's a full-contact sport, so there's no hiding from anyone. You're going to get hit. Everyone knows rugby, so that's why they say that.
Just as I'm unfamiliar with Australian football, you're still getting familiarized with this game, right?
I didn't follow (the NFL) growing up. Last season was the first one that I fully paid attention to what's going on. It's all new to me. I've been through training camp, so I know and understand things now. … I'm slowly getting it.
Can you see any American football in Australia?
We have two games a week on free TV, then on pay TV, FOX Sports, ESPN, they show replays of the games. It is on. But with the time difference, I was up at like 4 in the morning last year to watch some games. So it's not always convenient.
And you were watching those games because you had the goal of coming here to play football. What got you interested?
Playing professionally back home, I've always known I had a big kick. And with the success of the past Australians over here, I figured I'd just give it go. A mate of mine gave me a ball, and I'd just kick it down the park. It started to really grow on me. … From September (2009) to now, that's when I said I'm going to put everything into this. (My family) put our lives on hold and put it all out there for no guarantees. Obviously, with what happened in the last two weeks (getting cut by the Packers), it's an example of why we sort of put ourselves out there to do it. We didn't know what was going to happen. But it's all sort of paid off now.
So, if I was to go to Australia, I know it's a big country, but what do you suggest I not miss?
I think you should definitely see the Great Barrier Reef. That's amazing. You have beautiful warm water and beautiful colored coral. But the beaches are the main thing. I guess there are some beautiful beaches here in Florida, but we have some beautiful beaches there. We really have a lifestyle. We enjoy going to the beach and having dinner and a few beers down there. We're an island, and every capital city is right on the water. It's the place to be. And in the desert, there's not much growing in the middle of the country, so you get away from that.
This is our weekly question: What is playing the most on your iPod?
I just bought the new David Guetta album. That's what I've been listening to lately. When my wife grabs it, she puts Alicia Keys on there. But, really, just a mix of new music — electronic music, rock music. I don't just listen to any one genre.
The other weekly question: What website do you visit most?
Right now, I visit the website for the local newspaper back home. I just got on the Herald-Sun to see what's going on. We missed an election. And the footy finals are on right now. So I'm just trying to get up to date with what's happening back home.
How else can you keep up with what's going on?
A lot of Skype, depending on the time of day. But with the time zones, it's not really conducive to catching up. When it's 7 o'clock at night here, it's 9 o'clock in the morning on the next day over there. So you have to try and catch people before work in the morning. It's not easy.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.