The Chicago Bears franchise is in turmoil at the moment following a loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 that can only be described as a train wreck.
The first time I drove past Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, the carpark was chock-full despite it being many hours before the first pitch.
Thousands of clans spotted the concrete jungle in between their ‘vee-hicles’, some camps more elaborate than others.
With their fold-out chairs and entire lounges in some instances, smoke-spewing ‘grills’ and bag-toss games.
Everyone sporting a compulsory Miller Lite in one hand, baseball mitt in the other cupping some kind of meaty goodness (slider, brat, wing you name it).
‘Braun’ and ‘Weekes’ jerseys all round – whoever they are…blasphemy!.
“Look!” I exclaimed to my other half.
“They’re holding some kind of special mass BBQ day!
“A kind of a concretey version of Australia day with less lamb (sorry Sam Kekovich)!”
Ha! Poor naive Australian woman. This is ‘tailgating’ (not to be confused with driving up someone’s backside).
Americans have it down to a fine art: factor in travel time, food preparation, equipment packing/setting up/repacking, a decent grilling session plus cleanup, tossing the ball around and then the actual ball game whether they proceed into the stadium or just watch it on TV from directly outside of the venue.
That’s an entire weekend accounted for right there. The whole process is somewhat perplexing to me, I can certainly think of nicer places to host a pregame BBQ than a car park shared with 50 million other people.
However as an institution of all major national sporting team venues I better not delve into this cultural difference too far as I’m sure I can expect a little tailgating action before our Chill games.
The next obvious difference to our entire sporting structure in Australia is the college sport system. I am asked all the time, ‘What sports did you play in college?”
Well, I guess did play sport while at university – flashback to Uni Games mixed touch team where the boys would sub off for a quick spew behind a tree followed by a swig of Gatorade to ease the burn!
In fact across all sports I think the Uni Games was a test of pure endurance – of who could best endure a week-long hangover, sadly.
There is no comparison to college sport in the United States, particularly judging on the Badgers football game I attended in Madison, where the whole town was painted red.
The stadium was vast and bursting at the seams. Yes, there was also an exorbitant amount of drinking being performed, but not by the athletes.
These young men are treated like absolute gods, have access to state of the art training facilities not to mention get a fully sponsored edu-ma-cation.
And with the plethora of talent across the college system only a comparative handful of these sports men and women will be picked up by the NFL, NBA, WNBA and the like.
From the leftovers that don’t make the grade, there is plenty that could potentially be coaxed over to Australia by the AFL, NRL, and Super Rugby competitions.
Whether certain skill sets are transferable across codes has been a wonderful source of past discussion on The Roar, I see.
My third observation is the sheer prevalence of the ‘man-cave’ over here. No it is not a completely foreign concept to the Australian male, however I do have a theory.
There are closely related beer/HD sport/fellow men/empty space with potential genes located on the Y chromosome.
As a response to environmental variations leading to a diversion of the architectural design of the common homestead – a basement is a necessity over here, as opposed to our equivalent, the tin shed.
This environmental factor leads to the expression of this group of genes more commonly in American males, together with another consideration, let’s call it ‘the complexities of marriage’.
Many guys embellish their basements with a ridiculously large flat screen, booze fridge, pool table and enough sporting memorabilia to make you salivate.
Well I love sport, and beer for that matter but apparently if you have your wife sitting next to you in said man cave, the entire structure becomes completely nullified.
In fact, you might as well torch the place and go down the pub. Can I ask where’s our safe haven? If your thinking ‘in the kitchen’, I hope you can feel my stare from your seat!