Friday, 3 April 2009

It's just not Cricket!

Sorry but I just don’t get American sports!

Not saying the Yanks are not serious about sports- they are. Big style. But not like the rest of the world.

Take baseball. Great game. Basically rounders played by grown men and is the US national sport. I went to see the Mariners play the Tigers last summer with my future step son-in-law, Colin, and loved it. I saw Iciro in the field just in front of me and was amazed by his speed when in the outfield.

The game went into 13 innings! The attendants were bringing out blankets to try and keep us warm while the sun went down! Sadly the Tigers won, but it was a great experience none the less, mostly fuelled by the garlic fries that would have made my French friends gasp!

The best part of the game for me - to be honest - was a foul ball just missing me and hitting the old woman sat behind me in the nose. Hilarious: blood everywhere!

What really gets me about baseball though is the World Series. How can it be a ‘world’ tournament when only 2 countries have teams in it?

Compare that to cricket. To be honest a traditional English game that we exported to the Empire. At least the cricket World Cup is more global in nature. Obviously there is England and the ex-Empire counties, i.e India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean (West Indies), Canada etc, but also nations such as USA and Holland – I think you get my point!

However the crunch for me is soccer, as you guys call it – football to every other country in the world! Correctly you use your feet to kick the ball rather than use your hands, which you call NFL (Gridiron), and we call rugby – but without the shoulder pads. Seriously Dallas finished on TV back in the 1980’s!!!

Back in July 2006 I arranged to meet my girlfriend in New York and then spent a few lovely days on Long Island.

OK, maybe I timed the trip wrong as the Soccer World Cup Final was to be played during our stay. But it was her birthday and I wasn’t going to miss that – unless I wanted to be her ex!

Fortunately the final was on a Sunday and the time difference meant that final was going to be played in the afternoon East Coast time. This meant I could watch the game if could arrange: A bar that the game on and arrange for girly to go to the wineries with her friend, Laura.

So, J&Rs Bar not far from our base in Islip. Lunch of burgers and beers. Soccer on the large screen . Connie and Laura drinking Long Island dry = Result!.

I Had a great time, apart from my ancestral home nation, France, losing to Italy. The staff were nearly all Europeon and ensured that the game was on the massive screen for their own enjoyment as much as anything. However the biggest losers apart from France were the guys in the bar at same time as me. There may have been an important baseball game on one of the smaller screens they should have been watching, but everyone was glued to ESPN. Guess what the sport was? HOTDOG EATING!!!!!

Come on, if Americans want to be taken seriously about sport, at least show real sports on TV, not stuff that should be on either Freak TV or the Food Network.

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