Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday night lights...
Dave and I took in a familiar yet utterly alien cultural experience last night. American football - the NFL Europa, to be exact - right here in Amsterdam. Dave, being the football fan that he is, was uber-excited to check it out. And me, being the football neophyte that I am, I was interested in observing the social aspect of what an American-based sport would look like here.
From what Dave told me, the action was pretty slow in the game. But running, catching and kicking aside, we both were perplexed by this strange American-gone-Dutch import. The sounds - thumping music and gregarious announcers (speaking Dutch of course), the cheerleaders (not a Dutch tradition at all - no other sport here has them), and the general sense that you weren't watching a football game, but rather some kind of Machiavelian battle of unprecedented importance. Like two armies coming together to determine their destinies. Very dramatic. Also, not Dutch.
Don't get me wrong...there were a couple thousand people enjoying themselves thoroughly, donning Amsterdam Admirals colors and clothing. The stadium was probably 25% full and those who were there were engaged in it all. But there was still something strange about it. Kind of like wearing white pumps in November.
The NFL Europa league has six teams in it. One in Amsterdam, and five in Germany. The final Super-Bowl-esque match is called the World Bowl (perhaps more appropriately named the North European Bowl?), and that takes place in June. Most of the players are American, recruited from major clubs or scooped up if rejected by one.
In every sense, this is an American product on foreign soil.
All so fascinating. Great to be there, experiencing another facet of Dutch life. However, from the looks of it last night, there might be other American traditions that translate better here...hmmm...maybe Monster Truck rallies or the daily observation of Paris Hilton...(Ha ha.) (Kidding).
There is something so American about what happens at football games. It was funny to see our Dutch comrades putting on the hat (or large foam hand, if you will) of a football fan. But if they enjoy it, then so be it! I say, GO ADMIRALS, GO!!!!
Touching down from Amdam,