10/28/2007

NFL in London

I'm really enjoying that as I type this, the Miami Dolphins are playing the New York Giants in London. There's a nasty, cold drizzle coming down, but the stands seem to be packed. I had a lunch meeting at 1:00 so I missed the first half, and the opening festivities.

Hey! They just had a streaker! There's a guy who does this at all the events.

So, anyway, for me, this is significant. As readers may or may not know, I'm first generation American, born to parents who moved from Liverpool in 1965. Being English-American barely counts as an ethnic category, but yet, I've always felt caught between two cultures. I'm a fan of both American and English football, and so this is a lot of fun, having this game on.

I could probably write out a lot of interesting comparisons, but for now, I'd like to see the Dolphins continue to get trounced. If they lose, they will be 0-8 and Outskirts guy will find some way to blame our fair city.

When I've been over to England, American football is always an object of ridicule. Sure, a few people actually like it, and I think Channel 5 still shows highlights way into the night, and there's a show that tries to explain the game to people who are absolutely confounded that a game called football has so little to do actually using the feet.

They supposedly sold this game out, but there are a lot of empty seats on display. I certainly would never choose to watch this game, except for the novelty of it being in England. I'll be there in less than a month, and I can't wait to be there to see my family. As I'm watching this at the moment, I can feel the cold and the damp, and the apathy, and the Englishness of it all. This upcoming trip, I'll be taking my son to London, and so, for the next hour or so, I'll feel close to him and feel close to the place where he's growing up.

The pitch is soaking wet. I can call it a pitch because this match is being played in England. I so often mix up my words, though I try to keep it in context. If I write to someone English, the extra u comes out fairly frequently.

I love that the camera keeps panning on Dolphins fans who took this trip with their team. The NFL wants to stage more of these regular season games outside the country. I'm a supporter of it, because I really do love American football. It's a great game, and frankly, it is more interesting to watch than soccer. I like soccer, but a lot of that is because of the flexibility of the leagues. If the structure of the English Premiership was suddenly transferred to the National Football League, the Dolphins would surely be headed to relegation to the second tier league. That would either give them the pressure to play better, or it would put them out of our misery, and their status as a second-class team would be affirmed.

People in the crowds seem to be enjoying themselves, though I'm sure no one understands the game. My cousin James, who supports Liverpool as well as Luton, doesn't get American football one little bit. I've tried to explain, but I've also tried to explain baseball, and it just doesn't work.

The field is nasty. The players, who are much heavier than soccer players, are tearing it up fast.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now in the box, talking about the experience of being in England. I hope that they don't expect an instant success. I hope that they are patient with this. For them, it must suck, because the Dolphins are so poor. I can imagine this would be much more interesting if something was actually on the line .

As it is, I'm enjoying this.

Update: I hit send so I could concentrate on just watching, but I just realized that Goodell was wearing a poppy. This is significant, because every year around this time you start seeing poppies on everyone. 89 years after the end of World War I, the British (and the Canadians) still commemorate the event with poppies, and you see them everywhere in the days leading up to November 11, Remembrance Day in the UK, and Veterans Day here. I thought that was such a nice touch.

2 comments:

maiaoming said...

My father was a huge Anglophile - he relished reading British history, he learned fencing from a British fencing master, he dressed like a British professor. He took us around the British Isles with the delight and patter of a practised tour guide. But when we lived there, his other love - weekly obsession - was to watch Monday Night Football as aired on one of the BBC channels. It was his one American fetish - a strange one, especially because he was an intellectual,too, and football didn't really mesh with the rest of his identity - of course, this made it that much more touching and special to me. Anyway, he would have loved this game happening there as much as you did.

maiaoming said...

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/20071027_miami_dolphins_star_discovers_that_londoners_speak_english/

Oh my goodness, and then there's this guy, who was surprised to find out that British people speak English.

Oh my goodness.