Super Bowl XLIX: Amongst Patriots in Scandinavia
It was cold.
Not that much different than last year, but, despite the intellectual connection (winter = cold; Norway = colder), I couldn't help shivering. It was about an hour before Super Bowl XLIX and the night bus I was waiting for was late. I watched my breath rise into the Nordic night amidst a light snowfall which was piling on the already buried streets, sidewalks, and roofs another, powdery layer. The streets were deserted. There were no cars or other passerbys, or animals or signs of anything; the only sound was my steps upon winter's frozen blanket.
There's something in the Scandinavian winter that makes it easier to say good-bye.
Soon, I was saying hello. My bus arrived, The Sidekicks' new album and Pell's album soundtracked me to my destination for the game. A couple of Patriots' fans (also fellow American ex-pats) who asked me to join them despite my personal allegiance. Their apartment building was in the intricate streets of the festive, wharf district which was a hub of activity. Several of the bars and restaurants were having viewing parties as well as the two, Football clubs in town renting out venues for their own private affairs. The walk through the waterfront was a navigation of lines and Norwegian drinking songs. This is the earnest onset of Goddell's global dream. Though, for it to be a viable entity, this energy needs to be the spirit for every Sunday. Anyone can make an event of one game (as is the case at present), but true penetration of the market is the same fervor for Week 5 Browns vs. Titans match-ups.
As I mentioned last year, the games are broadcast in a different way than abroad. While I was saddled with the Norwegian feed for Super Bowl XLVIII, this year, thankfully, my hosts had the NFL package and the only annoyance came in the form of the Bob Costas smirk. This year's game wasn't the same festive atmosphere (besides an excellent multi-layer dip) as it was a close game and the people watching had "skin in the game".
Throughout the game, i caught myself looking out the window where I was privy to a few hundred apartment windows from neighboring buildings. To my surprise, there were quite a few glowing TVs showing the game in them as the Sunday Evening stretched into Monday morning (If you think your boss is unmoved by your Super Bowl hangover stories, imagine trying it in a country where Tom Brady is chiefly known as the husband of Gisele Bundchen).
Soon, Malcolm Butler intercepted the misguided, Russell Wilson pass (Seriously. Who chooses Ricardo Lockett over Marshawn Lynch with the game on the line?), my hosts danced, and I found myself out on the street. The crowds were milling around in an atmosphere of a concert ending as opposed to the pinnacle of the football season. It was about 4:45am when I got to the bus stop. There, I found an over-the-moon young man in a Patriots jersey.
I stopped him and asked about his team choice. He informed me that while he was Norwegian, his girlfriend was from Boston and so, as often happens with the mixing of two worlds, he was drafted into fandom. Which is true the world over, your team chooses you, you don't choose it.