American Sports, Cheer Locally, and the Super Bowl

There’s something strange about a New Yorker wearing a Packers jersey, so I try to cheer for local teams first. I was cheering for the Jets, but now I guess I should cheer for the Steelers since they’re from the East.

Except that they eliminated the Jets.

(Bastards.)

What to do?

I’ve never cared about sports, but I’ve decided to start following them now that I am living in America. I may be wrong, but I tend to view Americans as sports fanatics.

Unfortunately, my wonderful wife makes fun of me because I watch the sports highlights on ESPN every day at lunch. She views this as pathetic.

I view it as dedication.

It’s frustrating because she doesn’t understand that I’m watching sports for her.

I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job. I’ve followed baseball, football, basketball, and hockey this year. I can’t cite stats, but I can recognize the names of the cities and teams and of many players as well. Not bad, I think.

Especially since I play none of these sports.

(I play soccer on the weekend.)

When you have a goal, it’s important to set a standard by which you will know that you have passed. I decided that the time would come when an American would start making small talk and, instead of talking about the weather, we’d be talking sports.

This would be my benchmark.

The test came yesterday.

I was shoveling our driveway and my neighbor came out to clear his drive. It wasn’t long before we started talking sports.

Did he know I was faking it?

I don’t think so.

I passed.

However, there was a second test waiting for me that I did not foresee. Next weekend is Super Bowl Sunday, arguably more important to Americans than the 4th of July, the national anthem, and Mount Rushmore combined. Regrettably, I’ve always hated the Super Bowl, particularly the halftime show. Although I didn’t plan for this — and it’s really more of a pop quiz than a test — I’m determined to get Super Bowl Fever.

And I’m going to try to get my wife involved as well.

If I’m going to sit through this, I’m making her do it too.

After all, I’m doing this for her.

But first, I need to figure out who to cheer for.

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6 Responses to “American Sports, Cheer Locally, and the Super Bowl”

  1. Being from Detroit, I’m naturally a Lions fan. Being misplaced out here in Wisconsin, I’m being overcome by the Cheesehead Packer Pandemonium on a daily basis, even when football is not in season. Despite the fact that Brett Favre (or was it Brent Farve?) no longer lives or plays for the state team, he still covered in at least one new story each day locally. (No exaggeration here.) Our local papers plastered news of his retirement or win, or some other barely significant event in American life all over the headlines, while making us turn several pages into the paper to find out about the devestation of the Indonesian tsunami a few years back.

    Perhaps it’s because my home NFL team has sucked for generations, but I think the obsession with professional sports in America overshadows much more important issues, (like politics, education and world events) to a sickening extent. I find it embarrasing. If we could at least wrap our minds around soccer we’d have a chance to share in world events, though I think most Americans are uninterested in happenings that don’t pertain specifically to them.

    Having said that, GO WINGS! (Because I do love me some hockey.)

    And in the meantime, yeah, now that the Lions are done for the season, I’ll wear a little green and gold on game day, because it’s the American thing to do. (And because if I don’t, the neighbors might lynch me.)

    • We often do think that sports takes up too much time, but perhaps things are not so bad as they seem. In Blood Diamond, there’s a line about the displaced refugees will be covered on CNN for a few seconds between weather and sports. It’s pretty scathing actually, and perhaps supports your suggestion that Americans are uninterested in things that happen outside their borders. On the other hand, I recently read Tuesdays With Morrie, and although Albom is now known as a bestselling self-help writer, he started his career writing about sports. When his newspaper went on strike, he noticed that no one cared that they weren’t reading his sports columns. I certainly know people that are still angry that Al Gore did not become President in 2000, but I don’t know many people who could complain about a referee’s call from that year. So perhaps there’s still hope for us.

      As for me, I’ve yet to decide what to wear. I probably own more clothing that matches the Steelers’ jersey….

  2. I admire you for making a point of learning American sports, if only so you’ll have something to talk about with other guys. Just a guess, but I’m guessing your neighbor was faking it, too. We talk sports, but, honestly, most of the time, we don’t know what we’re talking about.

  3. I would like to confess that I have significant issues with sports news and highlights. I don’t stop at the sports section but I do start there. Do you find yourself actually curious about what happens in sports, or is it still a conscious effort?
    I never realized how fanatical fans were in Michigan until I moved back to Canada. Your comments on the pointed differences between the two countries is always interesting.
    I hope to chat sports with you sometime soon.

    • When we go out for wings, I am always happy to see a basketball game on. I also like watching hockey, but it’s rarely shown here. I never liked baseball and football, but I’ve come a long way with the latter — as in, I can watch an entire game of football without checking to see what else is on.

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