I like to believe I have a curious mind. Although I was very much interested in the US even before I met Mrs Missouri, this interest has really kicked off after I became a resident alien. I try to immerse myself in American history, information about Saint Louis, local politics and developments, and all sorts of things I firmly believe an involved citizen should know and care about. And then there’s sport. Of course, the Saint Louis Cardinals reached the play offs with flying colors, which is nothing new, but this will be the first time I’m here to experience it. I’ve liked baseball since my first week in the States. Mrs Missouri had just come back from a year studying abroad, and after the novelty of the exotic souvenir/boyfriend had worn off, there was a year worth of catching up to do. Now, as much as I enjoy all of her friends, the inside stories were not all that captivating for an outsider, and I had heard Mrs Missouri’s stories well before. As my mind wondered off, I spend many a night watching baseball in the cafes and restaurants in which we did her homecoming tour. It’s a great background sport, and quite enjoyable to watch.
When it comes to football, things didn’t come so easily. Baseball is pretty easy to figure out when watching it on mute for days: dude throws ball to other dude, who tries to hit the ball, but often doesn’t, but when he does, people sit up straight to see other catch the ball and run back and forth. Watching football is a skill. I’m pretty sure there’s an actual bell-curve that represents the distribution of how good the general population is in watching. I’m still on the left side of that curve, but I’m also pretty sure you need 10,000 hours to become real good.
Sure, the idea is simple. There is one guy who nervously walks on his tippy toes with a ‘ball’, hoping he can throw it forward before some two hundred pound men pile up on him. When you get to the other side, you score points (six, because of reasons nobody understands either). But in the meantime, it looks like a prom dance to me. Everyone forms a couple, they awkwardly touch each other and mingle in a sweaty bunch, and on the side there is a line of properly dressed guys watching, but not really participating. And then there’s the barely dressed girls, to make the metaphor complete. Then, all of a sudden, someone breaks out, runs forward and tries not to get tackled. That’s the part I understand again. I have no idea what happened in the meantime, but around me people got really excited. And there’s the flags. In no other event have I seen so many referees per square footage, and still they have not come up with a better plan than throwing down a flag. I have seen some of the situations that a flag was thrown, and I’m pretty sure that the alarming yellow color does not help visibility when you’re the bottom guy in a living pyramid. Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out. All in good time. For now, I keep juggling most of my time between baseball and soccer. Plain and simple, I tell you.
Seriously, what’s up with the flags?