Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Football fever

Seattlites are all abuzz with their home team's football win last night. The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl, and that's a huge deal. Apparently. Last night we went to a get-together at a friend's cafe and more than a few people were talking football. And I'm never around people who talk about football, so that's a good indication of just how much it was on everyone's mind here last night.

As we drove home, people were hanging out on the sidewalks celebrating outside the bars down the street from us. Some guys who walked by me opening the door shouted up, "Seahawks! Seahawks!" to me. I made a pretty decent effort to do some kind of "Yippee! Go Seahawks!" type of thing, and it was probably pretty obvious I had no clue what to say. I stopped myself from saying, "Bravo, Seahawks!" because that would've just sounded way dumb.

Today I got the Post-Intelligencer, and not only is there a gargantuan picture of some footballer on the front page, there's also a whole huge section on that one football game. Ten-plus pages on, geez, it must've been every play that went down during the game.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that football is completely foreign to me. We go way back, as a matter of fact. I mean, who could get out of Ironton, Ohio (home of the Ironton High Fighting Tigers, who 3/4 of the town goes out to root for every Friday night in the fall) alive and not know a little something about it? Well, a little something is all I know about the sport, really. I know about the 10 yards thing and kicking after a touchdown, but that's about it.

I did a stint in the marching band for a few years in high school (yep, I was a band geek forced to stay in band after my parents purchased me a $300 flute in jr. high) and during that time I had no choice but to sit through all those games. They seriously sucked. Plus, all the studly, truck-driving, crewcut, tobacco-chewing, country music-loving guys who I avoided like the plague in school were seriously into football. And that was plenty of reason to stay away from the game, too.

But there's something very American about how everyone's so into football with the win, and all. It's kind of cute.

I've always enjoyed baseball, and while I don't follow any of the teams or anything, one of my favorite activities is to go out to the ballpark. A number of years ago when we lived in Boston, I took Samer to his first baseball game. It struck me as people were passing the beers and hotdogs down the bleachers that we were all taking part in something that was distinctly an American tradition.

And after my years in graduate school studying anthropology and the traditions of other cultures and living in places that have gajillion year-old histories, I've often felt that as an American I've been gypped somehow--that we don't have too many age-old traditions that we rally around. Not so, though. This country's intense love of football can pretty much be summed up as our answer to, say, those African manhood rites we've all read and seen so much about.


At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Abdelstar alslimat said...

Steelers 28-seahowks 14.


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