Continuing on with our look at international Flag Football, Michelle Roque-Paskow kindly let us find out more about her experiences in the sport, including representing the U.S in the recent IFAF World Championships.
Teams: Team USA, TNT, Adrenaline, Hall of Fame (co-ed), and FSU Instramural
Position: Wide Receiver & Quarter Back
Can you give us a little bit of background about yourself and how you got involved in Flag Football?
I have played sports my entire life, but Soccer and Flag Football have always been my favourite sports. I always wanted to do whatever my brother did so I joined his Flag Football team from a young age. As it was generally all bigger, stronger and older guys, I had to really give 110% to keep up but I believe that developed my game really well.
What is it you enjoy most about Flag Football?
I have always enjoyed the competitive nature of sport but at the end of the day the love that people have for the sport is what I really appreciate the most. I think it is this passion that will grow Flag football every year to be a more dominant sport.
You recently represented the U.S at the World Championships in Miami, how did you get involved?
I have a few videos online of me performing trick shots and general highlights of me playing. I was fortunate enough that the Head Coach saw a few of these videos and reached out to me. We spoke a little on the phone and that is when he offered me a spot on the roster.
With America being so vast and the sport still in its infancy compared to the more main stream sports, how is the national team selected?
The selection process varies from player to player, the coach may go out and scout or alternatively will go through applications submitted to USA Football. Some of these will be VT’s similar to mine.
In relation to the selection process, how did the team train prior to the Championships?
Believe it or not, we met up 3 days before the tournament! I trained on my own for a few months prior but as a team we never really got to train together, largely due to being scattered around the country thus distance and travel was an issue. It has been discussed and we are hoping that this will be different for the next Championships.
What were your thoughts on the standard of play at the Championships?
I have to admit the competition was much better than I expected, there are so many talented women all over the World. I was really interesting to play against and watch these different styles of play.
Both U.S Men and Women were the favourites to take pole position, but the impressive Panama ladies came through in the end. Looking back, what do you think stopped you guys from winning?
Practice makes perfect! We didn’t get to practice near enough to flow as a team. Individually the team is stacked with talent, but at the end of the day you need chemistry to be a good team.
Are there any games that you fondly remember or enjoyed?
Definitely the Mexico game, those girls are lightening quick. We had to do a lot of adjusting to their style of play.
How did it feel representing your country?
There is no greater feeling than being able to put on the USA jersey, I couldn’t have asked for more. We may not have won but the experience alone was life changing and I hope that I am lucky enough to represent the USA in the upcoming years.
On reflection what were your highs and lows of the Championships?
Just representing the USA was a constant high for me. The lows would have to be the injuries I acquired over the course of the tournament. It was hard to keep my body fresh.
What are your plans Flag Football wise going forward? We see FFWT’s Battle Orlando takes place soon on your doorstep…
I plan to stay active playing Flag for as long as my body allows me. Whether it is with Team USA, travel teams or locally. I hope to attend Battle Orlando even if it is just to watch.
We saw your Highlight Reel on YouTube, which was very impressive. A lot of QBs here would envy your ability. How did the videos come about, and how did you prepare for these feats?
A lot of it comes from my time playing on my brothers team. This really brought my game on, however I only started as a quarterback in High School. I don’t like to be mediocre at things so I work my butt off every day to be the best that I can and here I am.
What are your plans and highlights for 2017?
My College years are creeping to an end so will be adjusting to the real world shortly. My plans are to pursue a career as a songwriter but alternatively I hope to find a career that I love.
Thanks very much for speaking to us Michelle!