There are a lot of things that are different out here in the Yay compared to back home. A lot of new things for me to get used to. No snow, ever. Being one of the tallest people around generally, unless I happen to be around other Midwestern transplants. Avoiding getting stuck behind a Prius the way back home we try to avoid getting stuck behind someone with a AAA sticker. Etc.
By far, the strangest thing I’ve found out here is that there are people who don’t watch football. Can you believe this? It’s so crazy, after nearly two years, I still can’t wrap my head around it.
Not watching football. I mean, it’s like not going to church. Oh wait, the people out here don’t do that either.
Back home, a typical Fall Sunday involves starting the day with church service, sitting in the pews with people already wearing their Packers jerseys or decked out in dressy team colors. On super big games, or after a big win, someone’s likely to offer up the Packers during prayer. Service ends promptly so everyone get home before kickoff. - Our church once had a pastor who would let church run a bit too close to noon. Church goers were not pleased. The pastor asked, “What’s more important, God or football?” But this is a false dichotomy as God is not church and church is not God. Besides, hadn’t the pastor heard, God’s a Packer’s fan? He wants to go watch the game, too.
Then it’s home to gather around the game. Snacks, cheering, jumping, clapping. Sharing the anguish of a close loss, hugging after a great win. The laughing, the yelling, the love for the team no matter what. A warm afternoon filled with sunshine and family and a common bond.
Nothing like that out here. No one in jerseys. Service runs long, not that it matters since the games start before church in the morning. No one even talking about football. And it’s not just the church setting where it’s odd.
I don’t see regular people in jerseys on the streets. If any, maybe a few thug-looking folks in downtown Oakland in Raiders gear. The supermarket has one sign for the Raiders and one for the 49ers and one for Cal football and that’s about it. Few people at the local sports bar on game day. Stadiums that aren’t sold out. So few regular game day football parties that I’ve never heard of one. And what really struck me as odd, there are no office pools. No squares to pick, no point spreads, no last numbers of the scores, not even a simple one team over the other. Nothing.
It’s all so very strange. What do these people do instead?
This Sunday is the biggest Sunday of the year. It’s a Packer game Sunday, and not just any Packer game Sunday; it’s Superbowl Sunday! And finally, there’s some football talk. I even know a few (albeit very few) people having Superbowl parties. Finally!
People are getting into it, and they’re choosing the right team. ;) Yesterday, at the Warriors basketball game, there was a guy in a Packers jersey! (Rodgers’ away jersey.) Earlier, while I was walking down the stairs at BART with my Packers gym bag, someone walked past and yelled “go pack!” My local supermarket has a Superbowl display made out of soda can boxes. Even people at my office are talking football. It’s all so wonderful.
I’d like to add, I’m very grateful for Twitter and the amazing Packers fans and players I follow on there. They help keep football alive in this alien word called California.