Everywhere from sitting in corporate boxes at the Rugby world cup in France to crowded pubs in London watching England in the vital stages of the World Cup, each time a goal is scored, the reflex action of punching the air, jumping for joy and yelling just doesn’t quite happen for me, I do well to muster a smile. The thing is I just don’t care.
It’s not that I don’t love sports. I thrive on playing them. I just don’t get supporting it, I don’t have that urge. Supporting individuals makes a little more sense to me, they are people, and they do have personalities, backgrounds and thus are somehow relatable. I can see how the stories of someone like the Golfer John Daly, make me feel a certain fondness and if say Roger Federer went to my school again it would make sense. But not teams, and least of all teams that have no obvious connection to each other or me.
It’s for these reason I was a bit reluctant to watch the Super Bowl with a big group of people. I thought my muted chants and my badly timed and apathetic cheers would make me stick out a bit, I was worried about feeling awkward (a permanent English fear). So we decided to watch it at home, on a pleasantly large American sized TV and with the sound up so I could try to understand what was happening.
Within minutes I loved it, the MASSIVE ads, the big sound, the amazing stadium, even across the country, in the heat and sunshine of LA I felt transported to the seats of the Lucas Oil Stadium. A few minutes in and I was both transfixed but also roused into strong support of my now beloved New York Giants.
The quarters went on, points were scored and by the end of the game my voice was hoarse with support and I was thrilled by the win.
I have no idea what happened, but I loved it. I am not sure why but here are some thoughts.
The game seems more approachable, accessible and open than Football in the UK. I had no idea of the rules but it seems like I was not the only one. It seemed more like a tide of enthusiasm and energy engulfed everyone. Knowing how points were scored or what offside meant seemed like a bit of distraction from the real fun of big ads, big hits, big music.
In fact, at times the game seemed irrelevant, and was more about the joy of consumerism and sponsorship and humor. Even when the teams won, the first focus of the interviewer seemed the owners and not the actual players.
A lot of fun, at this rate my ability to celebrate may develop. Bring on the basketball matches – I think New York has a team—and maybe my once incurable lacking of the celebratory nerve may be cured all thanks to sponsorship, family fun, good ads and an excuse to cheer, eat and be merry.