Tuesday, 31 March 2009

American Sports 101 From The Viewpoint Of An Outsider

When you move to a new country its inevitable that you compare things in your new country to those things of a similar ilk in your homeland. As a sports fan I'll admit to missing the sports that I am used to, especially as the Scottish football season draws to a close and I can't access to the games but I'm trying to make the most of my surroundings by learning to like some new sports. 

However I have to be honest I'm finding it hard to like American Football. For one thing I don't know why its called Football at all. Over here the football they play the ball is lucky to connect with the foot 12 - 14 times in a game (and they need a specialist to do that play) which doesn't really spoil my enjoyment of the game its just a small thing that I've noted.  What does spoil the game for me is the insistence in stopping and starting all the time. I'm used to sports that have continuous play  for 40 to 45 minutes before having an extended break of 10 to 15 minutes. In American Football as far as I have observed it seems that someone will throw the ball a few players will run in the direction of the thrown ball, whilst a few others will have a skirmish and after 20 seconds or so the man in black and white will blow the whistle so that everyone can have a little rest. Except of course the coaches who I believe use their headsets at this time to direct the players next moves. Although I really suspect thats just the rumour that has got about as a cover story for the headsets real use which I believe is linked to the local drive thru burger joint. Have you seen those players? They are seriously big guys, they have a lot of 'natural' padding there, is it any wonder they have to stop the play every 20 seconds or so. All those burgers and cokes add up. Now that stop start nature kind of spoils the game for me. I tend to get bored and fall asleep by the end of the third quarter just when the game should be getting interesting. And I'll be honest I don't get the need for the artificial padding, or the helmets. I grew up playing Rugby when I was 4ft 10' and just skin and bone and I was getting tackled and in turn was tackling guys a foot bigger than I was. Sure it was painful sometimes but it was also fun. Maybe its the high cost of health insurance here or the culture of injury lawyers but I think the game is spoiled by the lack of sighting of the odd broken arm.

I have to admit I much prefer watching Basketball. For me it's a much more exciting game. The play is almost continuous. Its end to end stuff, and the veins in my neck even have the added benefit of getting a workout as the play shifts from one side of the court to the other.

But then there's the National game of Baseball which I can't get my head around. It seems to me that Americans generally take they sport too seriously at times but in Baseball they have taken it to a whole new level of seriousness. In Baseball they have a World Series where I believe only one token gesture Canadian team is invited to take part whilst all other teams are American. And the object of the game is to go home. They never leave! And the English like to say that Americans don't get irony. Hah!


Hillary said...

I totally get the stop and go of football gets boring. I used to feel the same way when I was a kid. I would always fall asleep during the superbowl. I started to play a game called Madden football on the play station. And it really helped me to understand play calling and helped me to love the sport of football. When you guys come over Saturday, we will let you have a go at it and maybe you will like football a little more.

Hillary said...

Also soccer is starting this week too. And we now have a professional team here. Salt Lake Real. We should all go to a game sometime.

Scotsman said...

I did play an earlier version of Madden football but that was years before the playstation even existed. I did enjoy playing the game but I still couldn't get into the real thing.
I did use to watch the European league which existed of players that the NFL teams that weren't deemed experienced enough yet to play NFL and I have to admit I enjoyed watching the Scottish Claymores (one of the franchise teams before it was shut down) but although it was essentially the same sport with the same rules it was speeded up somewhat for European audiences.
Every year since I was a about 13 I've tried to watch the Superbowl but because the game wouldn't finish until around 4 or 5 in the morning I'd end up falling asleep before the 4th quarter.
The half time entertainment at the Superbowl may be a big thing for Americans but it doesn't really help the enjoyment of the actual game in Europe when you have a 5 - 8 hour time difference to adjust to.

Scotsman said...

Once I get some photography work or some other job here we're going to look into a season ticket, and maybe a few tickets for some Jazz games.