Wednesday, July 29, 2015

on the Czech superbowl

Clearly a Superbowl
It was a feast of vultures, the carrion birds picking the flesh of the fallen would-be heroes, if they could have ever succeeded. But one by one, they were blocked, pommelled, thrown down, until at last, only the swift strike of a sword into the stomach in the commitance of seppuku could have been an honorable end. But there wasn't even allotment for that. Even Stalin was known for giving a follower who had disappointed him some time to go into the next room with a pistol and allow for some honor, to allow their face to be saved in at least a metaphorical sense. But not with the Prague Panthers. They were a merciless bunch, straight out of a sports movie, the team in the black uniforms dominating the game, crushing all opponents, until at last, after a locker room speech, there was a tremendous come back and defeat of the all-ambitious and arrogant all-stars.

This was the Czech Superbowl of American football. Believe me, I'm also surprised about its existence. The losers - whose name were never really advertised in the pamphlets or online, as it seems it didn't really matter - were thoroughly crushed, pulverized into a pulpy mass left for the putrefaction of all that could be considered sportsmanship. But this was football. American football. So anyway, the numbers look that much bigger than they should be worth, so maybe the 50+ - 11 wasn't such a crushing defeat. I'm not sure what the final score was, as I got a little bored watching the nameless loser team do what the ambiguity of their name would imply that they do.

American football is not really known for its ubiquity. Despite being a superior sport, the only real league worth playing is in the States and even the name is lost given that soccer ranks as the supreme owner of the "football" brand in all countries outside the only one that matters. But it was something to see American football being played here in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and at least at a level of my high school football team. They were a good team too, better than many college teams. The losing team played like my middle school team. They were good too, but they were in middle school, so, obviously not that high of material to stand up to, you know, a high school team. 

However, it's always awkward watching a little kid getting beat up by a bunch of bullies, so it's good to avert your eyes. In the States, such an eyesore is relieved by a group of 20 or so beautiful young scantily clad women in their 20 somethings doing flips and smiling. Here, they even tried to copy this in their own Czech style. They had amassed groups of girls in their early teens, none of them remotely happy looking, all in scantily clad clothing. With their sad eyes and dull expressions, it looked as though they were being held at gunpoint to cheer, or perhaps got their training in enthusiasm from the Czech waitressing school - anyone who's spent time here knows that the waitresses have to be nearly held back from their overenthusiasm to not smile or be nice. Needless to say, the eyes drifted from one awkward scene to the next.

As it was their Super Bowl, there were masses of people loitering outside, playing football throwing games, looking at girls in mid-rifts and eating at McDonalds. I guess most of those people didn't actually make it into the Eden arena, since there were only two sections full of people. Probably most of the Czechs there were just there for the McDonalds and were somewhat mystified at this elusive sport called "football" that involves more throwing and carrying of the ball than anything with feet. But whatever, McDonalds is great too. We even ate some ice cream there, though we did find that there was some cheap beer and pretty good hot dogs inside, too. In this respect, American football is better in the Czech Republic. Beer costs a dollar, whereas in the US, it costs 8 to 12 in a stadium. Capitalism hasn't yet quite caught on, at least not in the same way American football clearly has.

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