23 August 2005

TransAtlantic Fan

New photos available from sporting events on either side of the pond. First some pictures from the epic day I spent at Fenway waiting for 5 hours for them to finally call the game vs. the White Sox because of rain. Laurie, Mike, Amrys and I slowly moved to better and better seats as people gave up and left the park. Alas it was to no avail since they never restarted the game.

The second set is from the Charlton-Wigan football match I went to last weekend with Javier, Shailen and Xiayi from work. It was a good group because the guys are knowledgable but willing to put up with my ignorance since none of them care that much about these particular teams (or English football in general, since they're Spanish, New Zealander and Chinese, respectively).

We got lost in London (Charlton is in East London) on the way there so it took us 3 hours instead of 1.5 to get there from Oxford. Thankfully we had left early (planning to stop for lunch) so we arrived 5 minutes before the 3PM kickoff. Unfortunately this meant lunch was in the form of the grimmest burger I've ever had sold by some woman with a stand in her front yard around the corner from the stadium.

The match was fun to watch, although the second half was somewhat boring. Charlton took a 1-0 lead on a cross to the striker who headed it in late in the first half. Wigan's a pretty miserable attack team so Charlton just shut them down with stiff defense after the break. It was different from watching any American sporting event because the action essentially never stops. A fifteen minute break between halves is about all you get to go chug a beer (you're not allowed to bring beers back to your seat) and pee.

I think watching football is a slightly different social experience than baseball or American football. There's the same hooligans chanting and supporting the local team to gross extremes, but there are other traditions that are different, like singing. The teams all have these long songs (some with multiple verses etc) that the crowds all sing together during the game. It's a bit more complex than just screaming "LET'S GO RED SOX!" Plus there are a lot more teams per capita than at home (not all in the Premiership league, but the other leagues are followed pretty strongly) so lots of people have season tickets and spend every Saturday with the same group of rubes at the Stadium.

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