Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, Planet Earth!

It should be a US (world?) holiday. The Monday after has long had one of the highest rates of sick days of the year. Productivity dips, churches are empty, stores close (Green Bay only), and every TV station NOT covering the game plans strategic marathons of shows aimed at the non-game crowd.

That's right, once again, the Super Bowl is upon us. And I'm stuck in Europe...

The game won't kick off until almost midnight local time, and will last AT LEAST an hour longer than a normal (already long) NFL game. It's gonna be a late night, but I'm dedicated to enjoying this one little bit of my American heritage to the last.

It really is impossible to compare Super Bowl Sunday to anything here in Ireland. Hurling and Gaelic football finals are great, to be sure. Rugby Six Nations championship? Exciting and thrilling of course, but the preamble and postgame is a bit deflating. World Cup? Yeah, it's big -- especially if your team is hanging in to the late stage of the tourney -- bit it's much less of a spectacle. That's right, I said it.

The Super Bowl is a big piñata-pop of all things American, the culmination of an entire autumn and winter of football fandom. Every high school season is long in the books, the college football bowl season has passed, and all American sporting eyes turn to the all-day coverage of the Greatest Game of the Year.

It falls at the perfect time. After the NFL season, America enters a sporting doldrums. Football is over, the baseball season is still months away, and sports networks struggle to find interesting (non-NASCAR) programming on weekends.

But.. Basketball! And ice hockey!

I know, basketball is still in full swing, and the college hoops season is really amping up as the conference standings fall into place in the buildup to the conference tourneys and the ever-loved March Madness championship tournament. The NBA is... the NBA. Professional basketball, a few nights a week. Those games that are always playing on mute at the local bar, with scores running into the triple digits and celebrities sitting courtside for their obligatory out-and-about shots. Compared to football? Yawn.

Ice hockey, enjoyed by a small but incredibly passionate fanbase, still occupies a second-class spot in the pro sports world. Just like the NBA, it suffers from a too-long season and bad television deals (outside of the home markets) and gets relegated to game-on-mute-at-the-one-bar-owned-by-that-guy-from-North-Dakota.

No friends, the Super Bowl is the LAST big game of 2014 -- even though it takes place a month into 2015. Like the traditional Chinese or the fiscal year, sports function by their own calendar not set down by the Romans (and later refined by monks) all those years ago. And much like the Western New Year celebration, Super Bowl Sunday is a big party held in the middle of winter, and the following day we wake up hungover, jaded, and looking ahead into a void of cold nothingness.

So enjoy, friends! However you celebrate (if you celebrate), do so safely and with as much America in your heart as you can fit. America is pretty big, much bigger than any human heart -- use caution. Even if you don't care one lick about that start-and-stop game where all the fat guys give each other head trauma, get yourself a watery American light lager, plug your nose, and release your inner North Dakotan. Get on YouTube tomorrow and watch as much of the halftime show as you can stomach, especially if there is a wardrobe malfunction -- but not if it happens to Steven Tyler.

And while you're watching the game, know that I will be sitting on an uncomfortable couch in our cold apartment in the middle of the night, full of nachos, quietly celebrating every sports fan's favorite holiday right there with you. God bless you, God bless football, and God bless America!


  1. My American neighbour is having a super-bowl party tonight: Wife sleeping in the back room so she doesn't hear to much of the cheers, lots of beer, TV on one side and Skype on the other so he can enjoy with his friends back home :-) He said he likes watching it here because there is no broadcasting delay. In the US, they have a 10 seconds delay ( censorship, wardrobe malfunction and so on), is that true?

    1. Delay on live events is pretty standard. Didn't realize they skip the delay for international broadcasts. I like the Skype idea!

  2. One of my favorite memories from my trip to Ireland was in a pub in Galway. We were looking to get a bite to eat, and when we saw they had American football on the TV, that was it. It wasn't even teams my husband follows, Lions and somebody, but it was FOOTBALL. There were 4 lads seated nearby. One of them had apparently spent time in the US and gotten bitten by the football bug. He was trying to sell his pals on the game. They were polite, but not buying. His efforts were so earnest and sincere; you had to love the guy.

    1. Wish I could have seen it! I can imagine what that scene must have looked like.


Please leave a comment, we'd love to hear what you think! Comments are word verified to prevent SPAM.