The quarterback on any flag football team is the pivotal player who grabs the most attention whether the side does well or not.
That is not so much the case with the Star 92.7 Lady Sharks, whose QB Anna Nyaundi feels that the side’s collective energy is its greatest strength. The Sharks are a nice blend of experienced players like Bobeth O’Garro, Scimone Chin and Dionne O’Garro-Anglin and relative newcomers like Ivanna Powery.
Nyaundi is in her fifth year of playing flag every Saturday afternoon at West Bay’s Ed Bush stadium. This is her first year as Sharks QB since joining them this season, and such is the team unity she does not feel stressed in the high-intensity position.
Women’s flag is certainly very competitive, Nyaundi said, which is part of the appeal, as well as battling against the elements.
“We are out there every Saturday in the scorching sun playing our hearts out,” she said. “It’s a great sport and gives me a chance to interact with individuals I would have never met otherwise.”
She feels that the league organizers do a good job, “but there is always room for improvement.”
She would like to see the schedule adjusted so that the searing heat and star billing are equally shared. “I have never understood why the women always play the first game at noon and the men play the last at 4 p.m. and why the women play the first Monday night game at 6 p.m. We could shake up the schedule up so that it’s fair for both men and women.”
Team spirit in the Sharks is why they are such a tight unit, Nyaundi emphasized.
“One aspect that I really like about the Sharks is that all players are key. Every team member is valuable and plays an important role, from the center to the wide receiver, rusher to safety.
“We have players who have made big plays for the team, without a doubt, but to be honest, they wouldn’t have been able to without teammates playing their part from the blockers blocking to give me time and the slots faking their routes to throw off the defense. Everyone has to work together for any play to work on the field.”
She used to play touch rugby in the summer as well but found it was too draining to juggle both.
The decision was right for Nyaundi who is always receptive to what it takes to excel as a QB and take the Sharks to championship level.
“I would like our current team to get to the championships next year. The team is full of talent and I am proud to be a Shark.”
Nyaundi’s mother always signed her up at boarding school in England “for everything at the beginning of the term” and Anna enjoyed the opportunities the activities offered.
“My schedule was always packed up till bed time.” She played indoor volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, did karate, swimming and even shot put. “Shot put was something I tried for fun, but I got second place at the Surrey County Championships much to my surprise.
“I would include cross country, but that was mandatory and almost impossible to get out of,” she laughed.
Nyaundi, who is from Zambia and works in compliance, is inspired by Serena Williams. “I remember watching TV and being excited by the Williams sisters walking onto the Wimbledon court.
“I have a lot respect for professional athletes. The dedication they have to have, plus the physical work needed to achieve results, blows me away.
“I have the most respect for Serena as a talented tennis player who holds her own in the business world.”
“Their presence has certainly created a lot of buzz. I love Serena’s determination and drive. She is the game changer.”
Nyaundi is impressed with the array of sporting facilities Cayman offers. “Cultural diversity is very evident in Cayman,” she said. “I would have never have thought that Gaelic football would be played here, but it is.”
She hopes to one day see an international flag tournament on island and her long-term sporting ambitions involve returning to coaching Special Olympics athletes.
“This year was a little rough for me so I couldn’t help coach for the Special Olympics World Games, and I really miss spending time with the kids.”