One of the mysteries about the U.S. is the fascination for football. This sport is definitely one aspect of the American culture that many foreigners don’t get. A touchdown makes most Americans go “yay!”, and me and other internationals go “huh?”. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, mainly soccer and ice hockey. But in Sweden, people aren’t obsessed with sports in the same way Americans are obsessed with football.
Last Sunday, my roomie dragged me to a Super Bowl party, because she said that’s part of the American experience. Well, I can’t argue with that, that’s what I’m here for. At the party, there were mostly Americans, but thankfully there were also a few Indians I could share my lack of football knowledge with.
The Americans were really into the game, cheering, screaming, booing. The Indians on the other hand looked like they were thinking the same as me: How is four hours of guys piling up on each other fun?! No offense, I totally understand that the game is more exciting when you actually know the rules and the details that make a good play. And my ambition is to learn and appreciate football better!
But there were some parts of the Super Bowl that I enjoyed:
- Food and friends. Any event is a successful one if there are friends and good food! I tried wings from Buffalo Wild Wings for the first time. A life-changing moment.
- The dive and the jive. I don’t know what was more spectacular – Jonathan Stewart diving over a huge pile of players to score a touchdown, or his hand jive celebration dance.
- Bruno Mars. Wow, the guy beat Beyonce in a dance-off! I did not see that coming. This was for sure the most entertaining part of the Super Bowl.
Even though we watch sports in Sweden, it’s not in the ritual way the Americans watch Super Bowl. I think the difference is that games back home only attract the ones that are truly interested in sports, whereas the Super Bowl is a tradition where almost everyone comes together.
The closest thing Sweden, and even Europe, has to Super Bowl would be the Eurovision Song Contest. That is, obviously, a song contest in which most of the European countries compete. It’s not so much about the songs anymore as it is about the concept and the uniqueness of each performance. Like the Super Bowl commercials – the weirder the better.
The Eurovision Song Contest brings the whole Europe together like Super Bowl unites the U.S. It’s almost like the society stops for a moment; everyone gathers their friends in their homes to watch, cheer, critique and have fun together.