OK, so admittedly being such a long way away does put the dampener on actually being able to go to a game, but as the season gets back into full swing, I’m starting to notice several distinct advantages to watching games on the American tele box when compared to in the UK.
So the Saturday lunchtime kick-off in the UK may be disturbingly early at 7.30 am Eastern Time, but when you are willing to move the lazy lie-in to the sofa, it’s not so bad. The main advantage is that when all games are done and dusted, it’s 2.30 at the latest and you still have a large chunk of the day ahead to do what you will – walk with the significant other, nice lunch somewhere… you get the picture. It’s just more civilized timing.
Sunday games are good too. My own amateur games are usually in the afternoon, so you can (in theory) sit through two or three matches to get inspired before heading off to imitate (badly) the Premier League’s finest right backs.
2. Where football belongs
Traditionally it belongs at 3 pm on a Saturday. When I think of 3 pm Saturday, I think of hardy working men from the 20s in flat caps and holding rattles. But, for understandable reasons, if you are in the UK there are no games (legally) televized at this time in order to protect attendance at Yeovil vs Scunthorpe etc. In the U.S. these restrictions don’t apply so you can get these games on TV as well. An extra top flight game you can watch live every weekend. Bellissimo.
3. If you don’t want to know the score…
If you miss a game and want to watch it later on TV without knowing the score (i.e. to recreate the live feel) you can go out and about comfortably without the slightest fear that somebody will loudly talk about the score or that you’ll see it on the news. It’s a growing game here, but it is rare to hear it discussed in public and you’d be unlikely to catch a spoiler on Channel 7 news!
4. Less arrogant TV anchors
The American presenters are aware that they know significantly less about the game than a large proportion of their audience, meaning that they are refreshingly humble. “Socrates was the wisest man in Greece because he knew how little he knew”… that kind of idea. Thankfully Richard Keys and Andy Gray of Sky Sports are no longer on air… but if they were and you happened to be in the UK, you’d understand the counter example!
5. Sports bars are nice, have better food and you can invariably get a seat
As much as I miss the British pub, the ones that show sports are often not the classiest establishments and the area underneath the TV will be packed anyway. I can think of three or four bars in walking distance here in Boston that serve inexpensive and genuinely nice lunches and where you can always get a table in a good viewing spot.