Posted January 7, 2006on:
This morning, next to the soda machine (free coke! free sprite! free diet coke! free dr pepper!), everybody was talking about the Rose Bowl game which takes places usually on Jan 1st every year in Pasadena CA, between the two best college football teams of the season. The game takes place after the obligatory parade. I told you Americans love their parades, right? They also love to have celebrities in their pre-game festivities. This year they had country star LeAnn Rimes and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. I watched the Rose Parade on TV sipping a warm cup of tea in my dry living-room (it was raining but it did not stop the wet parade from, well, parading).
Incidentally, the game was between USC (that’s the University of Southern California Trojans) and Texas (the University of Texas Longhorns). My colleagues were talking about the new hero, Vince Young, who somehow saved the day but I’d be hard pressed to say exactly what he did for the good reason that I know nothing about football despite my long stay here. It’s not because I don’t want to understand, I’ve had some people explain to me the rules of the game and several times at that but somehow I still can’t remember them.
My American friends then summarize the game by telling me that it’s like rugby, only milder. But then I don’t really believe them because if it’s a milder game, how come the football players are all wearing helmets and paddings on their buttocks, knees and shoulders, and well, you know, everywhere, while the rugbymen don’t wear any protective gear at all.
It’s the same for the game of baseball. I’ve had people explain the game to me : first base, second base, third base, fourth base, home run. It seems so simple but I still fail to see why it gets a whole stadium crazy. Why is it even entertaining? I went to a baseball game once with friends and the main thing we did was talk and go get beer and hotdogs and not watch the game at all which was a good thing because in my humble opinion, the game was excruciatingly boring.
Anyway when I say this to my American buddies, they usually retort that they cannot understand how the rest of the world is mad about soccer which they think is slow and a game for sissies because it is mostly a game for females here and real men play basketball/football/baseball or that other manly man’s game, I have named, ice hockey. I don’t answer anything because I don’t care about soccer myself, I’m not into sports in general.
My Indian colleagues are crazy about cricket and spend hundreds of dollars to watch white clad players look very proper and immaculate despite 13 hour long and blazingly hot cricket matches (matches, not games, mind you) on cable TV. They lose sleep over that literally because the matches take place from the very late evening hours into the early morning hours thanks to the time difference (India is ten and a half hours ahead of us. And don’t ask me where the half hour came from). Then the soda machine is also soaked up in cricket match talk the next day at work. At least this time, it’s as incomprehensible to my American colleagues as it is to me. How can you like cricket? I fell asleep watching a cricket match some years ago in the UK. The rules of the game were also explained to me in detail by indulgent Brits and that time also I did my best to promptly forget all the rules.
I suppose one is always someone else’s weirdo.