I enjoy sports. I like watching a game, almost any game, in which people look for their own limits and try their hardest to go beyond them. Also, I’m really glad that I can do so from well within my own comfort zone. I don’t mind to work out or play a physical game every once in a while, but I know my physical limits and tend to keep them exactly that (after all, that’s why they were limits in the first place). However, I don’t think I like watching sports as much as American society. There is not a moment when sports aren’t forced on you (again, the comfort zone version). Not just is a random team jersey an accepted part of the daily attire of the American people, but even gender roles and neatly carved out around the idea of watching a game.
American airports, or at least the ones where I tend to show up (it’s not that many), have a habit of showing football games every time I am going back home (late summer and mid-January). As I am preparing myself for Missouri in many ways, including writing papers on Lincoln and the Civil War in the context of my study, I see it as important to understand American football. Another important factor in my choice of watching football is that I’m always at least five hours early at the gate and as there are more hours of travelling ahead than my books are able to cover, I position myself right under a speaker and at a convenient distance from the television. As more and more people drop in, I have seen a tendency among many men and women. If National Geographic is ever planning on mapping out the habits of the American people, an airport gate would be a great place to start.
Whenever a new couple walks into the seating area, the man looks around. His intuition tells him there’s a game going on. His well-developed senses then spot various groups of men wherever speakers are placed in the ceiling. They’re watching the television with an intensity that doesn’t appear when the regular CNN coverage is on. All women are either absent or turned away from the television. The man looks at his wife, she is faced without a real choice and wonders off to the newspaper stand down the hall. The newcomer now positions himself as close to a speaker as possible and joins all other men in a silent gaze.
Do you have a travel ritual? Any gender-related habits that come to play?