Saturday, November 3, 2007

And that's another Miami Dolphins FIRST DOWN!

So it's Halloween tonight (or at least it was when I started writing this post) and the streets are full of kids dressed up as devils and witches and skeletons and (rather disturbingly) Britney Spears. Luckily I live in an apartment so I should be relatively safe from trick or treating. And even if they do come knocking, I'm on the 4th floor, so it's going to take some enterprising kids to play any serious tricks on me. Of course, I'm sure they'd find a way if I took my Dad's traditional approach of opening the front door to trick and treaters and then spending the next 15 minutes giving them a lecture on how Halloween isn't an Australian tradition and they should spend their time learning a bit more about Australia's colonial era instead of scouting for sweets. Or, alternatively, I could just try and offer them something nice to eat. Unfortunately, all I've got to offer at the moment is a tub of hummous and some carrots. I quite like it, but I'm not sure the sugar content in the hummous is high enough to satisfy the kids. So, to sum up, I may just need to take my chances.

While I'm waiting for the rotten eggs to start raining down on my roof, I may as well write a little bit about last Sunday, when the NFL came to town. It was the first time that any NFL regular season game had been played outside the US and they did it in style, playing in front of 85,000 plus one (me) fans at Wembley. About 50 players from the Miami Dolphins and NY Giants made the trip over for the match and they were accompanied by a team of around 100 Dolphins cheerleaders (supposedly the finest cheerers in the league, but then I bet they say that to all the girls).

Now the weather on Sunday wasn't great - hey, this is London after all - but that wasn't going to put my little crew off following NFL tradition and doing a little bit of tailgating. Tailgating basically involves breaking out a BBQ behind your pick-up truck and sinking a few beers before the game. Well, we didn't have a pick-up but we did have a little disposable BBQ, a packet of Sainsbury's finest wild boar bangers and a couple of 6 packs of Carlsberg, which went down a treat (both with us and a couple of friendly coppers who were a little hungry and a little too cheap to buy their own sausages). We had kind of expected there to a be a crowd of tailgaters, given that that there were several thousand Americans flying over especially for the match. But I suppose they all left their BBQs at home, because we were alone out the front of Wembley. Anyway, having wolfed down a couple of lonely sausages and more than a few lagers, we finally made it into the stadium as the players charged onto the field, fireworks exploded, cheerleaders bounced and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" blared through the stadium speakers. Americans really know how to do entertainment.

The match itself was entertaining, but I don't think it was the best football ever played. The weather was partly to blame, as the players were having a hard time getting a grip on the wet ball, which meant that both teams preferred a running game over a passing game. So, really, the game soon degenerated into something closely resembling the recent rugby World Cup final, with two teams grinding it out for field position and then knocking over penalty kicks. Still, we were a few more beers down by that stage and were happy enough watching the cheerleaders do their thing. Also, I was becoming excellent at screaming out FIRST DOWN every time the Dolphins made their 10 yards. In fact, it was a bit of a shame that the crowd wasn't a bit louder - I was half hoping that the Giants fans would start singing "are you Tottenham in disguise" to the Dolphins players, but they don't seem to have the same sense of humour as the Gunners fans. Maybe next time. Anyway, the final result was 13-10 to the Giants. But on the day, we were all winners.

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