Undrafted – The Network
Life Style NFL Sports Cards

Undrafted – An Honest Update

The slogan I came up with when I started doing a little podcast a few months ago was ‘Sports entertainment for the everyman’, and it’s pretty cool to look at where we are now, taking our first steps as a business. I wanted to update you all on what our vision is, how we’re getting on, and what you should expect from us in the future. We’re not here just to fade into the background, we’re building a brand. And honestly? I’m pretty f**king stoked to have you all join us for the journey.

This is going to be me, talking to you, about the vision & the company. I hope it all makes sense!

2020 & Me

First of all, I’m Alex. I’m 27 years old. I work for an accounting firm in London in a resourcing role I love. But what I love more? American Football. The lifestyle that comes with it, and I have a passion to turn that into a career. So here it is, all laid out.

THIS IS ME.

2020 has been a wild year for every human on planet earth. It really has. I had a weird little vision back in April when all this came about, that I wanted to make the most of the time suddenly available to me, and that I wasn’t going to waste however long it was sitting and complaining about my life. I learnt that from two very strong influences, Tony Robbins, and Gary Vee. The ‘what’s your why?’ mentality. Having a constant positive outlook on your life and being grateful for each and every thing around you. Living each day to the absolute fullest because tomorrow is never promised. I taught myself to live by these values. Continuously drilling the mindset of these successful and HAPPY people into my own mind. And it worked.

So when I was presented with an opportunity this year to create something i grabbed it. I’ll pause right here and confirm that this isn’t about to be a self congratulating celebratory piece. We have a long long way to go. But crikey I’m enjoying the journey.

It started with the podcast, which birthed itself from my astounding love for the game. American football came into my life around six or seven years ago, and it actually started with Madden. I picked up a copy because I was bored of playing the standard games i’d played for years and fancied something different. Madden taught me the rules. I remember playing and thinking why did I all of a sudden not have the ball anymore after four plays?

It stemmed from there. I attended my first game in London, The Dolphins against the Raiders. Derek Carrs rookie year. He got hurt that game and the Dolphins got a fairly easy win. In all honesty, i don’t remember too much about it! I chose the Dolphins due to an affiliation with Florida, that part was easy. Maybe I’d go someday… spoiler… I have, multiple times. And I love it. Choosing the Dolphins was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. Nothing hits the spot quite like a day at the Hard Rock stadium in Miami.

The Gators came later. Most of you have probably heard that story by now, but if you haven’t, long story short I was going on holiday to Florida with my girlfriend at the time and wanted to attend a college game. We looked at who was playing during our two week stay. The Hurricanes… too far. The Seminoles had no games during that time, but the Gators played at home the day after we landed. It was perfect. I remember walking up towards the stadium in a white t shirt feeling totally out of place. I was surrounded by a sea of orange and blue, so powerful that I felt out of place in white. Crazy. And I remember thinking how desperately I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted it in my life. Spoiler, now i’m a super fan. I’ve been to around 7 or 8 Gator games, both at home in Gainesville and in Jacksonville for the neutral ground games against Georgia. The Gators is a huge part of my life now, and I’ll continue to go for as long as I am able.

My first ever Gator game… Incredibly grateful i discovered this team. The Mrs hated it. I fell in love

Rambling…

ANYWAY. So i started the podcast because I realised me and the boys were starting to collect this book of stories. I wanted to talk about them and share them with the world. We’ve travelled to Atlanta overnight to get there in time for a Falcons Dolphins game. We drove seven hours through the night for it, stopping to sleep in a Mcdonalds car park. 6 boys in a dodge mini van. It’s a sick story i’ve told a thousand times. Message me about it!

We’ve jumped on a plane from Florida and gone to New Orleans for 24 hours, and that was one of the best experiences of my life. Home field advantage is a real thing for the Saints i’ll tell you that. I loved New Orleans. Saints Texans on monday night football, big nuts Lutz with a huge walk off kick to win it. Unreal.

We’ve tailgated in Jacksonville with hundreds of thousands of Florida & Georgia fans. We’ve done that three times. Amazing weekend each and every year.

I wanted to have something that allowed me to share my experiences with anybody that wanted to listen. Which turns out, when you’re first starting, isn’t many people… lol.

I’ll be honest, i struggled with it for a while. It’s hard to create something and have it fall on deaf ears. And I wasn’t very good at it! I’m a perfectionist, I wanted it to be seamless, like some sort of ESPN documentary by my silly ass. It didn’t take off immediately, I knew it wouldn’t. Friends and family supported it but I didn’t get the reach I was looking for. And that demotivated me at stages for sure, it’s difficult to power through. It’s like dieting and going to the gym and seeing no results. I’m learning just to do it for myself, and not for an audience. The growth will come in time.

Of course, you’ll notice there hasn’t been a podcast for a few weeks, more on that a little later! I’ll explain.

Expanding

Antonio (Ant to me) and I have known each other for over 20 years. We grew up together. Junior school, senior school, sixth form. We didn’t like each other much as 5 year olds, I used to say he had a big head. That came back to bite me, i can barely fit in a large football helmet these days.

Here we are, Ant & I… 16 years ago leaving junior school, aged 11.

Ant and I have played football together, and jumped into American football together later on. But I never knew he had a passion for writing, and for business, until this year. It just so happened and I can’t remember exactly how it came about, but we chatted about the podcast and that conversation developed into the idea of a website where we could share our thoughts and feelings on sports. And if you’re reading this you’ll know what happened with that. Within 48 hours we’d bought a domain, set up a website and started smashing blogs together as quickly as possible so it’d be ready to launch within a few days. We wrote like 25 blogs in two days. And the website went live.

The squad. Four of us created this very brand.

Loving what we’d built we held a meeting in the summer about getting serious with this thing. Four of us, Ant, Kyle, Ad and myself sat down and formed a company. That was the next stage. Kyle and Ad being two close friends of ours we met playing for the Sabres, our local American Football team. I’ll tell you all about my 7 interceptions in two seasons another time…

We won’t talk about this play…

We have Daf, who now runs our gaming subsection, and Tom, who writes some incredible stuff for our website. Both of these guys have bought into what we do, and who we are, and their work is fantastic. Daf is a smart young gamer in South Africa, who we met virtually, and eventually set him up to take over for our brand in the gaming industry.

Tom is a very talented writer, with a tonne of passion and drive, who believes in Undrafted, and will eventually be positioned to oversee the entire blogging section of our business.

Sports Cards

I’ve said since we started that there was going to be one thing that really kickstarted our brand. I believe that sports cards is that thing and I’ll tell you exactly why. The sports cards section of our business allows us to introduce the avenues of our approach all in one go. I can talk about sports, while opening boxes and interacting with people. I have spoken with so many people via DM just about the NFL, teams, their experiences and how they got into the sport, the hobby etc. I love that. It’s networking. Everybody has their own story about how they found football. How they spend sundays watching it with family or friends. Stories of the travels the game has allowed them to take.

By being able to show my love and passion for the NFL, for Tua, the Gators, and the things I don’t like so much like Tom Brady’s lack of handshaking, and Adam Gase. I’m able to display my character and relate to people. From that I can continue to build those relationships and meet SO many new people who love the sport as much as I do, through Undrafted.

We set up the convention to give back to everybody who’s helped us create this section of our business. We’re extremely grateful and couldn’t have done it without you guys. The convention is something we’re incredibly excited about, and while it might be virtual this year, we have every plan to have a very real very physical convention the following year. Now that would be seriously cool. And I hope we can make it happen. Why not?!

How can we improve?

Consistency. Time management. We’ve tried tonnes of different things since we started this thing. Gaming. Writing. Podcasting. Video content. Sports cards. Some of it doesn’t work. Not even that it doesn’t work, it just isn’t effective right now. The gaming was a tonne of fun. But recording, editing, cutting and posting videos takes a LOT of time. I found that period of time very stressful. I was streaming three nights a week for three hours at a time. The streams were an immense amount of fun but I was KNACKERED by the end of the week. I couldn’t sustain it with a full time job. Drove me nuts after a while. I was mega stressed.

I got a little lost with where I wanted to take it and that’s when I stumbled across sports cards. The hobby has grown tremendously this year, and I wanted in. What we’ve done with sports cards in the last three months is my proudest achievement to date. I love the group we’ve built on facebook, and I love doing the live breaks with like minded people who feel the same way about the subject.

Of course there’s a lot of admin that goes with it and as it continues to grow we’re getting busier, but I love it. We’re building something and that really gets me going. So many great people.

The issue this caused is that I now lack in other areas. I can’t juggle all the balls at once. I know that and it’s human. Ant’s found the same issues. I find that when I’m so focused on the sports cards group and helping it grow, something else slips. I haven’t done a podcast in a few weeks. I hate myself for that!! So annoying that I just can’t be consistent. I need to get better. And I will! I promise.

We need to have more content on the website. More blogs, more content to read, more video content. It all needs to be there. I want it all to be there! But it’s managing my time. And not burning myself out trying to do too much. I have issues with that too. But we as a team are ambitious, we’re driven, and we have huge plans…

We want our website to be flourishing with content. Each and everyday. We want writers who love to write and can share their thoughts and opinions on our platform. It’s all content content content.

Join us for the journey

My ambitions for this business have no end. I would love to see how far we can go, and we will find out together. One day i’d like to be interviewing Tua or sharing a podcast with him. Having a press pass at the super bowl. Shaking hands with Patrick Mahomes. Running a fully fledged sports card convention for collectors in the UK and across Europe. I want all of that, and I know that me and my team will do everything we can to get there.

Baby steps.

Stick with us. It’s early days, we’re not even a year old. We have a very long journey ahead of us. But we’ll continue to share our passion, stories and everything along the way with you all, and I hope you enjoy coming along with us.

We’re a very down to earth, transparent, open business. And we simply want to build our brand around our biggest passion, and share the journey with you.

Thank you for reading this, it means a lot to me! Let me know what you think, send me a DM. It’d be great to hear from you all, as always.

Thanks guys
Alex

Head back to the homepage here:

Related posts

Pouncey Twins Retire Together

Alex Buck

Nick Chubb named the Best Running Back in the NFL

Ad Bristo

Sports Cards… What’s Coming Up in July?

Alex Buck

1 comment

Undrafted - An Honest Update v.2 - Undrafted - The Network 19th January 2021 at 1:04 pm

[…] So I did one of these at the end of November, and that being what like six weeks ago, to read it back now is mad. Talking about consistency on the website… check. Talking about writers who love to write. Check check check. Talking about bringing the podcast back… check again. If you’d like to read the original you can find it here! […]

Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: