Super Bowl?  Super Blurred!

For many foreigners, especially those of us from Asia, sports do not carry the same fervor as they do in the US.  Sure we enjoy them regularly – baseball and soccer are particularly popular as are Olympic events – but they certainly are not on the same scale as what I’ve found here; practically a religion!  Consequently, when we experience our first sports event – particularly football – we’re often confused, dismissive, and just downright ignorant of what’s going on, both on the field and in the stands.  I confess: since I got my “education” from the internet and Andy Griffith’s classic “What it was, was football” exactly describes my view of the sport.

Collectively, Americans can be victims of cultural ignorance as well.  My friend, a blonde, blue-eyed girl who is your typical “girl next door,” returned from a year-long assignment in France.  When she started her work, she made the effort to go to everyone’s cubicle or office and shake their hands each morning.  Finally after a month, a co-worker told her, “Sorry Karen, but we just don’t do that here.”

Being from Taiwan, we’re just not acclimated to the sports fervor that is part of American society.  And football is something almost unheard of (besides soccer).  Since I am determined to immerse myself into American culture, I decided to practice this in two critical arenas of American social life:  happy hours and the Super Bowl.

My initial instinct was that “super bowl” is not a sports event, but a recipe.  I pictured a big bowl of noodles or rice smothered with cooked meat, fish, and vegetables.  Big guys wearing shoulder pads and helmets, tossing a weird looking brown ball in a stadium with tens of thousands of screaming fans?  Who would’ve thought?!

So I’ve been invited to watch Super Bowl XLVI at a friend’s home and I’m wondering, what should I bring.  So I asked an American friend about this:  would a bottle of wine and a French dessert suffice?  “NO!  You gotta bring some ‘GUY FOOD!’  Chili, Pizza, Chips & Salsa, and of course, BEER! “

“Uhhh…Okay!  What else?”

“NEVER change the channel, ESPECIALLY during the commercials!”

“Why?  They’re just commercials.”

“Ohhh…no they’re not!  They’re different from any you see the rest of the year!”

Whew!  This is more emotional and adrenaline-soaked than I would have imagined!

OK, I tried to calm myself from this dramatic reaction, and will try to contribute appropriately.  Now onto my next excursion – what is American “guy food?”  Most likely not a big bowl of rice!  Hey, since this nearly coincides with the Chinese New Year, maybe I should serve sesame ball soup – extra large portions for the Super Bowl – of course!

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