Football Fanatics

November 26th, 2008

One of the things I’ve missed┬áliving in Europe is American football, particularly the NFL. You have to say “American football” because “football” in Europe and almost all the rest of the world means “soccer” in American parlance.

I’ve tried to learn about football (or soccer, if you insist), and I’ve watched it often. But I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m missing some cultural gene. I see a lot of obviously athletic guys running first to the left, then to the right, kicking the ball as they go. I don’t see the strategy, although my friends assure me it’s there. Ninety minutes, and maybe a couple of goals get scored. The goals seem to happen by surprise, and everybody goes nuts. Sometimes, the ball gets kicked by the wrong guy, and he scores a goal for the other team. Go figure.

I guess it’s a lot like basketball, which Europeans are good at, except in basketball there’s more scoring and it’s a lot harder to accidentally score for the opposing team. And European football and American basketball seem to have more than that in common these days, given the level of violence during and after games.

At least you can see NFL football in Europe once in a rare while on TV. You don’t have to speak the announcers’ language if you know the rules.

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