On the Eve of the Superbowl

On the eve of the Superbowl, our biggest American sporting event, I take pause to mention some of the sports that I was blissfully unaware of or that at least I didn't know anyone actually cared about before moving here. I was trying not to make any judgements, but what's the fun in that?

1. Handball. I think I had heard about this sport before but somehow had imagined it to be squash but using your hand as the racquet. Coincidentally, the World Championships were today and were held between Poland and Germany. I'll find out who won soon - we are watching it on taped delay since we were skiing all day. If you were to be half-watching (and of course I'm paying full attention), you might think there was a basketball game going on but the net is huge and they don't dribble.

2. Tour de France. What exactly is the target audience for a sport where the coverage consists of a camera trained for a month on the tight spandexed butts of many men cycling up and down the French countryside?

3. Field Hockey. I knew all about this one. High school and maybe college. Vicious girls in kilts who take pleasure at slashing at each others thighs and shins with a hard wooden stick and sneering at you with their mouthguard. After college there seems to be no market for this sport. Unless you are in Europe and select other countries around the world. Where men play this sport. Yes, MEN. I had two confusing conversations regarding hockey finals in India (they have ice there?) and a friend playing in the Netherlands in university before I realized they weren't talking ice hockey. I have not confirmed if they also wear the kilts.

4. Formula 1. A couple of hours of high pitched whining noises similar to a mosquito invasion in your ear. Once in awhile someone crashes. This seems to be the highlight. Sometimes they all make a nice weaving pattern when they have speed restrictions. The fun starts the day before the big race with the trials for pole position.

5. Ladies Speed Skating. From mustaches to monster thighs, these women scare me. I hope I never see one of them skating towards me in a dark alley. I wonder if they are really aliens.

6. Curling. I still don't know how it works or what the game even looks like. I just know that people sometimes have the urge to play this at the English Garden i Munich. But the signs clearly say it is verboten. And this is about all I know about curling.

7. Soccer. Who knew this World Cup thing was this big? Something for the World's Best that is not being played in America, predominantly by Americans? The party and the war paint made me nostalgic for College Gameday. Next time the games are in a country I live in I will definitely watch one or two.

8. Ski Jumping. As close as man comes to flying, but they need to put in a yellow line to show where first down is. I want to know when the guy is flying through the air where he needs to land to move into first place. Otherwise they can show one man jumping and then just skip to the end. And why don't women jump?

9. Biathlon. In this highly exciting sport, you watch people cross country ski carrying a gun on their back. I'm not sure for how long. They all look more or less the same and it seems to go on forever. Then when they are exhausted you oooh and aaah as they shoot at targets and hopefully hit them. Pop - ahhhh! - pop - ahhh! - pop - you get the picture. First competition was held at the Swedish-Norwegian border in 1767. The fan response was overwhelming.

10. Cricket. I only get one channel in English. Of that I only get a few minutes of sports. Of those few minutes, there is an abnormal fixation with cricket updates. Where are you, Baseball Tonight and Sports Center?!

So, for those of you getting ready for your Superbowl parties tonight (oh what I would give for some good wings and chili and a seven layer dip), M. and I were 2 of the 20 million viewers who just watched Germany win the WORLD HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS. And for handball munchies, we had, well, nothing. But the commercials were great.

Posted from Munich


lobstah said...

You haven't seen curling before? Where they throw the rocks down the ice and use a broom to sweep the ice in front of it?

I think you need to start "Super Handball Sunday" and make a gigantic finger food buffet next time. That is surely a worthy American tradition to import?

CanadianSwiss said...

Let's not forget the billiard championships.

vailian said...

In Finnland they have Handy Hurling.

Ale said...

hi! i found you on expat-blog :)

ski jumping- hehe, i think i have an idea why women don't jump, because apparently our brain has been blessed with a self preservation instinct. yeah, same one that tells us not to touch hot stove, or put our fingers into outlets.

christina said...

Target audience for #2 would be ME. :)

I also thought handball was kind of like squash or raquetball until I watched it the other night. Not bad but still kind of boring.

Women's speed skating is REALLY scary. Even my 10 yr old thinks so. He has to look away when it comes on.

I'm Canadian so I should know about curling, but I don't have a clue. I like the idea of wearing two different shoes though.

Kirk said...

As I was reading without looking ahead to #9, I kept thinking "WHAT ABOUT BIATHLON?!?" I feel like it's on every time we turn on Eurosport (except, as canadianswiss noted, when billiards is on).

We went out for drinks with an Australian colleague and he spent an hour explaining the finer points of cricket. The frightening thing is that I almost started to understand some of it.

Sometimes the Tour de France goes through parts of the Alsace near Basel...I'm still bummed that I didn't take pictures of signs near Mulhouse saying that the road would be closed the next day for the Tour de France.

For some reason Handball always cracks me up.

Expat Traveler said...

ah yes curling, learned about that after meeting my husband...

We don't watch football here either..

I like European sports better actually.

Un-Swiss Miss said...

I watch the TdF! At least, when I can get it on OLN, and when half the field hasn't been banned on suspicion of doping. But handball... I'm baffled.