Subtitle: It’s supposed to be boring.
I had a brief stint in my teens or early 20s when I watched American Football on the telly in Iceland. The games were not shown live and the breaks between plays had been edited out. So, they were short, probably about half an hour with replays and commentary (fun fact: The actual action of an NFL game is between 11-15 minutes but the average game is over 3 hours, source: Forbes Magazine). So you could watch 2 or 3 games in a sitting, pretty fun actually.
After I moved to the U S of A I struggled to find myself a sport to watch. I’m an avid football (soccer) fan, which is a lightning fast, jam packed all action game with two uninterrupted halves of 45 minutes (of actual action) with a 15 minute break in between (and it’s a real break, nothing happens for those 15 minutes, you go to the loo, get a drink, a snack, chat with your friends etc.)
I just couldn’t get with watching a sporting event for 3 hours that is constantly, interrupted by commercials, cheerleaders, music, talking heads, news and replays. It just didn’t make sense to me.
I went to a couple of ball games in NY (Yankees and Metz) and was flabbergasted at the slow pace and the “entertainment” during breaks. I tried watching the NBA on TV but again, the constant breaks just kill the mood. I felt bad for the players in this very fast paced sport who have to maintain momentum when the game is stopped every few minutes for a longer time then the playing time. You could see them pacing back and forth on the pitch, their eyes glazed over into the distance to avoid getting distracted, plus they barely even broke a sweat since the playing segments are so short. I mean how do you keep a rhythm going in those conditions? I don’t get it.
So I didn’t watch any and as time went on during my years in NY the popularity of the Premier League and the Champions League kept rising so my sport appetite was fulfilled.
My first, and only, Super Bowl experience was in 2012 when The Giants beat The Patriots. I had just done a commercial with Tom Brady for Uggs (although I strongly disagree with his political leanings I have to say that I admire him for having the balls to be the face for Uggs) so I figured I’d watch my man in the Super Bowl with some (American) friends.
Suffice to say that I found all my combined trips to the dentist more exciting than this experience. The 15 or so minutes of play, the halftime show, the commentary, the commercials, the shenanigans, the replays, the showmanship … I don’t know man, it’s just ludicrous. Americans just don’t know how to enjoy a game of sports. They’ve been groomed by advertisers and other corporate interests (media companies) that this is the way it should be. It’s all about eating, drinking, socializing, chatting etc. while chewing up the maximum amount of the most expensive media time in the US (and probably the world). It’s not about the game at all, maybe this is why it’s boring, it’s supposed to be boring so you’ll enjoy the commercials and all the other crap.
Having had that experience made me reflect on why I avoided watching football (soccer) with my American friends. You see, they’re raised on this model, where everything is more important than the game. They are constantly talking instead of watching the game (soccer is an intense game where the power dynamics shift back and forth on a moment by moment basis, and if you’re not paying attention you’ll miss it). Talking about the players, their past glories, their future potential, their stats, etc. Or, asking why and what they’re doing, what just happened (if they’d watch instead of constantly talk they’d know), and why the ref did this, that or the other thing, in short, it’s a verbose barrage of unimportant information, commentary, questions and opinions that have nothing to do with the game that’s being played (sigh). So I watched my games either at home or at ex-pat bars with Europeans, any Europeans, we understand football.
Anyway, enjoy your Super Bowl peeps. I’m gonna fantasize about great moments at the dentist’s office.