On Sunday we (me, Jayne, Chrystal and Charlie) went up to Essex to see an American football game. We are not mad sports fans, it is just that Frankie has started playing for Sussex Thunder, they were playing an away game in Billericay, and my family live up there so there were several birds to be killed with one stone.
Just to show that I would be the last person in the world to be offered a job writing for the sports pages of a US newspaper, here is my match report:
Sussex won and at no point did I have any clue what was going on.
From the perspective of somebody who doesn’t know the first thing about the game, it is a strange sport. The teams are huge – at least 50 per side – but only a few are on the pitch at any time. Every few minutes everything stops and all the players change.
It is a bit like rugby, but play seems to be in spurts of about 2 minutes, if you are lucky, followed by several minutes of huddling, plotting and substituting everybody another few times.
My dad used to describe football as just about the only game which a visiting alien could watch and quickly work out the purpose and most of the rules. American football is very much not like that. I think the Americans like their sport complicated and capable of being turned into reams of statistics – which is why I am surprised they never went for cricket. I know it can’t be that difficult because in America 10-year-olds and Republicans can understand it, but the frequent interruptions to play didn’t really give me any great desire to learn more.
What I can say is that the Essex Spartans had a much cooler outfit. It was all black. The team looked more like some form of riot police from Robocop. Unfortunately that didn’t help them much because they got thrashed 28-0. Frankie says he ended up as MVP, which turns out not to be some sort of motorcar, but the equivalent of man of the match.
On that basis, we like the game because it turns out that Sussex Thunder are pretty good and Frankie is doing well, and so we don’t care that we have no idea at all what anything means or that supporters are outnumbered by players by a significant margin.
Also I got some nice photos, a few of which will be suitable for making soem new banners for the top of this site.