3 April 2012

American Sport: A Whole New Ball Game

Now, I have seemed to surprised myself recently, if you have the pleasure of knowing me then you'll sure know that I detest sport and everything that it stands for. Well, recently something strange has been happening to me because I have attended two sports events and watched the screening of the NFL Superbowl Final. American life won't change me but I'm loving life right about now!


Firstly, I attended a basketball game at the Prudential Center and secondly a soccer match at the Red Bull Arena. I must admit that American football is great when Madonna is one of the players! I did love the Superbowl Halftime Show!! Back to last Tuesday evening my American sporting venture began with a really interesting basketball match. My local team the New Jersey Nets played Utah Jazz, to be honest the match started off quite slow and I felt my concentration leaving the arena but soon enough the buzz of the game brought my attention back to the action. Unfortunately, my team the New Jersey Nets lost 84 as Utah Jazz bagged a favourable score of 105. The general vibe in the Prudential Center felt quite positively American due to the chanting and silly little musical interludes when something slightly significant happened. Half time witnessed everyone descending on the over-priced food outlets, which lured me in to buy some rather unhealthy chicken, fries and soda. American life is treating me well!


The halftime dancers made me laugh as much as the antics of the crowd that were awkwardly captured around the arena, it wasn't just the match that provided entertainment believe me. With a unlikely victory on the cards for the Nets the crowd went kind of wild in the last quarter of the game for Utah Jazz topped a unbeatable score. Looking back the New Jersey Nets losing didn't quite dishearten me but simply made me want to watch another sporting event in the supposed 'land of the free.' I guess now that I can just admit that live sporting events aren't really that bad, lets see what the future holds, shall we? Who knew that living in America would open up the chance for me to become a sports fan? I'm just going to take this next year whatever way it goes I honestly don't want to stress about what I do because its all going to work out just fine. I knew after my basketball game I wanted to seek another sporting event so I got one of my friends inspired. Bad luck New Jersey Nets I know you'll slay your next game! 


So, I tell you a feeling of compulsion lead me to scout down the next possible soccer match at the nearby Red Bull Arena. Thankfully the soccer season had just begun when I started looking for tickets. I immediately thought that there was no way that I was going to go to a soccer match on my own, no way! Thomas, my friend from work joined me to watch the game. With the tickets booked and seats assigned for my first American soccer experience I was ready for kickoff! Along came Saturday 31st March 2012, the New York Red Bulls verse Montreal Impact the first game of the season followed to be a experience that I would learn to love. I met Tom and we set off for the match, thankfully we lived down the opposite streets from each other so we walked to the Arena after the morning shift from working the VS18 flight. If truth be told the seats that I had booked were quite high, I soon got over it as my can of Red Bull made me slightly forget about the height. Had I gone absolutely mad? Its just a new experience! 


Kick off prevailed to be as cheesy as my previous experiences at the Basketball, the national anthems of both Canada and the USA were equally over the top, I suppose you could call me unpatriotic. No one sings their national anthem quite like the United States of America! Maybe us Brits could get some pointer from the pre-match performance? Arsenal's former French player Thierry Henry lead the way to a 5-2 victory to the Red Bulls. Throughout portions of the match I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next development of the game. I think maybe if it wasn't for our victory my match experience could have been a different story. I love that there wasn't enough room in New York City to build the Arena so they chose New Jersey! The match was a success with our home team winning it was an afternoon to remember for sure! Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the Red Bull Arena is located in a town that holds close to my surname! Yes, Harrison is the town where the New York Red Bulls call their home! It was a family affair! 


Let's rewind back two months to my first encounter with American sports! I sat in a Newark bar called Hell's Kitchen with my two housemates. I was ready and waiting to see my first Superbowl Final game which, was live from the Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis! The football game itself was really quite something indeed! Competing were the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, I was torn between the two teams as New York has basically became my new home, but New England naturally felt more like home due to its history with the pilgrims from England. Anyway, the halftime show was nearing and I knew who would be wowing the audiences in the stadium itself, let alone the rest of the world! For Madonna, the reigning Queen of Pop made her comeback after almost a four year break from music! It's never totally been about the football because the Superbowl Halftime Show has always caused controversy and did Madonna raise some eyebrows? Yes she did! Don't ask me who performed last year, who does? 


The pop icon performed a mixed bag of old and new songs, teaming up with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A for Madonna's new single that's called Give Me All Your Luvin'. Not wanting to just push her new record too much Madonna went back to her roots by performing two classics such as 'Like a Prayer' and 'Express Yourself!' It was an utterly fabulous show but being Madonna she made things quite controversial as per usual. I know she's not the best live singer but at the end of things she's been an entertainer for over thirty years so she's been doing something right? Judging from her show I just can't wait for here new album! Being my first Superbowl game and halftime show I say that it was amazing and I will definitely be watching in 2013! I actually enjoyed the game maybe because of the novelty factor but like I've mentioned a few times before this year is all about working and enjoying myself so I'm open to new experiences within my new American neighbourhood and further afield! Who honestly knows what the future will hold? 


Here's to New Discoveries!


Joseph Harrison 

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