Monday, February 04, 2008

"Football" vs. Football

As for which one is meant to be questionable and therefore in quotes, I’ll let the reader decide.

Last night was the 42nd American Football Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. In honor of this annual, colossal game, it’s time to address one of the most popular issues that comes up when speaking with Swedes and all Europeans about any kind of sports. Yes, as an American you can always count on the conversation finally turning to “football.”

Misunderstanding about “football” abounds from San Diego to Sao Paulo to St. Petersburg. Americans label European/worldwide football “boring” and Europeans label American football as “confusing” or “violent.” It is at this point that most people’s interest in learning about the “other” football stops. With the exception of those rare games when someone suspends their lack of interest in learning more long enough to watch the spectacle, be it for the World Cup when Americans take a casual interest in the European/worldwide football or for the occasional Super Bowl that Europeans might try to have an open mind and explore why so many Americans (and TV advertisers) go crazy over one game, interest in learning more is minimal, so the controversy and misunderstanding lingers on.

I am not about to try to explain either kind of “football” game or attempt to convince anyone about the superiority of one game’s strategy or another game’s skill or which game has more beauty or less moral value. However I do encourage you, the next time you have a chance, to suspend your lack of interest in learning more and try and find out why soooo many people on so many continents enjoy both games (okay, perhaps that’s a stretch, but there was an “NFL Europe” at one time…).

Of all the questions I am often asked about American Football, my favorite is this one:

Question: “Why do you call it ‘football’ when you almost never touch the ball with your foot?”

Answer: In order to annoy the rest of the world! And apparently it’s working…

I’ll leave with this thought: It doesn’t matter which “football” game is better, because neither one is as good as baseball! Only 10 days until pitchers and catchers report to their teams for spring training! Go Dodgers!

By the way, Europeans, don’t even ask me to explain “Super Tuesday”…

Pictures above:

1. & 2. Recent logos representing two great sports.

3., 4. & 5. My “America is Awesome” Super Bowl pre-party we had last night before heading to an American-styled sports bar in Linköping for the game. A big thanks to Linköping’s O’Leary’s for staying open really, really late on a Monday morning. On hand were representatives from Czech, Austria, Sweden and, of course, the USA! Huge props to Mike, Vaclav, Jana, Benedikt, Alfred, Reinhardt, Susanne and Andreas for their impressive suspension of lack of interest in learning more, and from 12:30am – 4:30am, no less. And...

...The classic American feast: Doritos, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Apple Pie and, of course, Peanut Butter – what to put the peanut butter on we didn’t know, but since this party was hosted by an American, we had to have our peanut butter.


Kristofer said...

Me, Philip and some other guys also stayed up all night watching the game. After a few hours of confusion we actually think we understood the basic rules! :)

The last 20 minutes were really exciting too. Good fun, but it made me a little bit tired today.

Todd said...

Hooray for my beloved NY Giants!!!

(When I say "beloved"..I mean...I never really grew up with a professional football team...but I always watch the Superbowl...and now living in the Champion city, they are beloved.)

SKhor said...

Bad game, good commercials. Also: I'm proud to say that I took the Mud Bowl picture, and sad to say that the McCarty Bowl has never been the same since then. (Well, if we're honest, Denny Field has never been the same since then...=)


Bryn said...

"It doesn’t matter which “football” game is better, because neither one is as good as baseball!" Best sentence ever! I've been a little behind on my blog I am catching up. Sounds like Sweden is treating you well. Nick and I are off to spring training on Easter weekend. I know you're jealous :-)