06 Février 2012
No joy in Mudville
It was a good game and a good effort, but the Patriots lost. I’m little sad about that, but I’m all but despondent about the fact that we lost to effing Eli Manning. Again. He’s better now than he was in 07-08 – hell, he’s even an above-average quarterback now – but that’s about all that can be said for him; at one point this year, the Giants were 7-7, and they were clearly the 4th or 5th weakest team in the NFC. They had another great playoff run, but what killed the Pats was their lack of anything remotely resembling a defense, not any especial grandeur on the part of the Giants. If you put Eli on a team as fundamentally weak as the Patriots, there’s no way he carries them to the Super Bowl. No way.
Anyway, even on that. I sound like a sore loser, and I’m not. Well played, sirs. It was an a truly enjoyable game, and I thank you for that.
I’m also thankful just for being able to watch it. After all, this is West Africa – a land of inveterate soccer fandom, where your average person in the street hasn’t even heard of the sport of American Football, much less the Super Bowl. If I had been anywhere in country other than Ouaga, I wouldn’t have been able to watch. And even watching it here required some effort: we had to make reservations at the Rec Center, we had to pay to get in, and we watched it with a motley assemblage of Marine guards, PCVs, FSOs, and assorted WAGs.
But it was definitely worth the effort.
Indeed, when you get right down to it, unless I have a kid or get married on Super Bowl Sunday, this may very well wind up being the most memorable Super Bowl of my life. First we played drinking games in the transit house until 10, then a couple of volunteers and I rode our bikes across town in the dark to the Embassy Rec Center. After that, we feasted on quesadillas washed down with milkshakes and watched the game via a 120-inch wall projection. The broadcast came to us courtesy of NBC and AFN (Armed Forces Network), so we got the announcers of the former and the hokey PSA-style commercials of the latter. The national anthem was tasteful, stirring, and very well done, and the halftime show was surprisingly better than I feared it would be. And when all was said and done, we rode our bikes back through the deserted streets of Ouaga at 4am.
Despite the loss, it was an amazing evening. And for that, I’m grateful.
But there’s still no joy in Mudville this morning.
 I’m no fan of America’s love of commercials, but I did find that watching brief introductions to the service academies in between downs instead of clever car and beer commercials really detracted from the overall viewing experience. Thank God for YouTube: now I too can stay current with our cultural obsession with over-produced ads for overpriced crap! Hooray for capitalism!