Sports unites strangers

So here we are again – it’s Super Bowl Sunday and I don’t even know what teams are playing, but the odds are good I’ll be watching it somewhere.

The Super Bowl brings out people who aren’t even fans of the game; they just enjoy the atmosphere, eating their own weight in chicken wings, buying buckets o’ beer, and of course rating the inventive commercials that cost about a zillion dollars a second to air.

There is something about watching a game being played that unites complete strangers, and before you know it, you’ve got your arm around someone, high-fiving them when you didn’t know their name an hour ago.

I remember one year in the 1990’s joining friends at what was then the Blue Parrot bar on South Church Street.

Its close proximity to the huge white Esso/Texaco storage containers proved most useful when a projector screen was needed.

We all assembled out on the deck and readied ourselves for the event ahead.

A good number of us were there primarily for the Super Bowl ads so it was therefore quite disconcerting to see 100ft of two local men discussing who had been Martinized, instead of the highly anticipated Budweiser frogs.

Apparently the feed was local so the ads would be local by golly.

A wail of protest went up as a cheery voice through the speakers reeled off the items that could be found at Sounds ‘n’ Things. Needless to say it never happened again.

I’ve never been a huge fan of a lot of sports.

I don’t understand how an American Football game has four 15-minute quarters, and yet stretches over hours.

How can Soccer (Football) players sleep at night when they drop to the ground yowling, grabbing their ankle or knee in supposed agony when they are barely brushed in play?

Of course then you look at the other extreme – Rugby – where players consider a dislocated kneecap or compound fracture merely a flesh wound and get right back in there.

I confess I like watching Rugby, but maybe that’s ‘cos the men have legs like tree trunks.

Speaking of getting back in there even when injured, Boxing has got to be near the top of the list.

I don’t watch UFC (can you believe it?) so I don’t know the precise ranking.

I’m a fan of the big boxing matches.

These days anything with Pacquiao involved is something to behold, and at least they’ll stop the fight before anyone looks like raw meat.

It’s still that playground mentality – a bunch of uninvolved people crowding around two, egging on one to hit the other.

It’s also so gratifying to see the boxers’ statistics coming up on the screen, mentally calculating that I’d be in the same weight class as Frank Bruno or Mike Tyson.

I just need me some gold teeth and tattoos.

We all have our different sports we like to watch, so thank goodness there is so much diversity out there.

Despite being surrounded by Canadians in Cayman, I’ve not seen a single hockey match.

Maybe it’s because I can’t get past the fact that the plural of “leaf” is “leaves” (I’m a popular conversationalist at bars.)

When our band “EXIT” used to play at Legendz wayyyyyy back in the day, they’d turn off the TVs even mid-match so all the patrons would pay attention to us.

I’m lucky I didn’t end up with a puck in my mouth.

Islanders LOVE watching the cricket, along with a good number of the British, Australians etc… but it’s clearly not a game for everyone.

As my one-time flatmate Welsh Mark used to say, “No mate; there’s NO such thing as Cricket Highlights.”

He still went to Jamaica and joined friends at the Red Stripe mound, proving once again that you don’t have to follow the sport to be swept up in the enthusiasm of the fans around you.

The Olympics are another prime example, with a wide range of events from Track and Field in the Summer to Snowboarding in the Winter.

I have to say that Shaun White was pretty mesmerizing when he hit the halfpipe.

The fact that I know his name, can use the word “halfpipe” confidently in a sentence, and yet have never participated in any Winter sport in my life is saying something.

On the other hand I get tired just watching the Cross-Country Skiing.

Come this Sunday I will not be purchasing a brand new 3D 65” TV and having people around to eat nachos, and no, I do not want to know what a Kegger is.

That being said, don’t be surprised if you see me screaming my support at Aqua Beach or the like as I cheer on a team I’ve never seen before. Hey! This is when they need me the most!

In closing, I should mention that I have been to one live football match in my life.

I was in university, it was West Ham vs. QPR at Loftus Road in London and I dressed like a clueless teenager.

I was wearing a turtleneck, flared skirt and white high heels (WHITE HIGH HEELS!) as we shoved our way towards the grounds.

My best friend’s boyfriend was a rabid West Ham fan, and I got dragged along in the process.

For the first half I was miserable.

We were in the stands with dark clouds sprinkling rain over the proceedings, which gathered in the awning above us, slowly drip, drip, dripping onto my shoulder.

I sniffed at the supporters with their grubby pints muscling in on my tiny space.

How could anyone pay good money for this kind of experience? Cut to the second half – I had my hands up in the air, swaying with the rest of the crowd, baying “I’m forever blowing bubbles” into the ears of all who surrounded me.

My friends had long deserted the person they no longer recognized to retire to quieter corners.

Who’s the fan now?

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