So, today I'm going to talk about my one sporting love, American football. Thankfully it's starting to become a bit more mainstream in Europe, so we can watch it on TV rather than on a series of dodgy streams that seem to get taken down every time something really exciting is going to happen.
I'm not a sport person. I don't watch soccer, Gaelic football, hurling, rugby or any of that. But my husband's family holidayed in Florida regularly, and they had once gone to a Miami Dolphins game while Dan Marino was still playing. They lost. But that didn't matter to my then-teenage husband. He was hooked, and a Dolphins fan forever more.
Fast forward to our honeymoon in New York ( '...concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can't doooo...' you get the idea). It had been over a decade since my husband had last seen a live game. With great generosity of spirit, I agreed to go out to Meadowlands and watch the Giants take on the Jets. My only stipulation was that I could have a hotdog and a plastic glass of beer while watching the game, like I had seen people do in the movies. (Yes, this is an American stereotype and I know not everyone in the US does this, but in my defence when people come to Ireland they want to go to a thatched-roof pub, listen to Irish rebel songs while drinking a pint of Guinness. I have never done this. I also have never sung rebel songs about eight hundred years of British occupation. Except when the United Kingdom score us low in The Eurovision Song Contest.) Obviously, the Jets and the Dolphins are rivals, so we would be supporting the Giants.
When we got to Meadowlands, all of the merchandise was for the New York Giants. The jumbotrons urged us to cheer for the Giants, when they were in offence and in defence. The Giants were winning. Now, a little thing about my home country. We are a tiny island with a population of about four million people, and we don't invest a huge amount in sport. We don't have a huge pool of talent from which to choose from.We go in to every sporting occasion expecting to lose. When athletes from other countries qualify for something like the Olympics, they think it's the start of something. In Ireland, if our athletes qualify, then we've won. We'll send our athletes, wave our flag and cheer them on. If they don't win, that's ok. We're used to it. We qualified, anything else is a bonus. We are sporting underdogs.
I felt for the poor Jets. They were behind, their fans were outnumbered by Giants' fans. The jumbotrons couldn't care less about them. So, used to supporting the underdog, I switched allegiance, much to the chagrin of my Miami Dolphin supporting husband. The Jets then came from behind to win the game. There's a message in there somewhere I feel.
I love American football now. It's such a social game, the break between the downs gives you a chance to discuss the game, and I love the way the referee explains his decisions to the crowd. Only problem is, the Jets have turned into a great team, and have narrowly missed out on Superbowl two years running. I'm supporting a strong team, I don't know what to do with myself.
I can actually spell, and I spell check every post. Any differences in spelling are down to the way we spell in the British Isles as opposed to in the USA. I've got a couple of comments about my spelling, just wanted to clear that up.