Monday, August 23, 2004

The Smell of Pigskin

You know, I've not missed too much about America while living abroad. Sure, at times I crave a quasi-Mexican delight that is really quite bad for me; sometimes, I find myself fondly reminiscing about something as simple as crushed ice from a fridge (water shortage be damned!). But, more than anything else, I've really missed American football, especially of the college variety (past equivalents to slave labor notwithstanding).

I'm one of those people who don't really follow a particular college team, but really just look for good games. This is what I tell myself and others anyway. It's not often that I admit this, but for reasons detailed in this post over at Charlotte Street , for no reason at all, none that is immediately discernible anyway, I'm elated a certain team in the SEC flirts with a .500 record and a crappy bowl named after an even crapper steakhouse.

There are at least two ways of supporting a football team. One is to choose a team, according to success or style of play, or even because "everyone else" does. To my mind this is precisely not supporting a football team, but supporting "success", "popularity" etc. The other way consists in a kind of curse inflicted on one at an early age, a throw of the die that one cannot actually remember but which in any case determines one's allegiance forever. In this second instance, you find yourself wishing you did not support the team in question, you wish you were indifferent to how they are performing, even as your hand reaches for the T.V., just out of curiosity you understand - before curiosity turns to quiet elation or frustrated disappointment. You can tell yourself you are no longer particularly bothered about football, that your choice of this team is in any case arbitrary, that practically none of the players even come from your home town. These nice observations are useless, the protestations in vain, for all are casually refuted when, driving back from a country walk on a Saturday afternoon, you find yourself asking your friend to put the radio on.

In other words: Go 'Cats!