I am a couch potato. I don’t exercise or play any sport…I watch sports! My son plays football, that is American football. I live in Mexico where there is a huge fan base of NFL teams, and a very big student league, so football here is an amateur sport. Sadly, it isn’t televised enough, and as I mentioned before, I am a couch potato; if it isn’t on TV, I won’t watch it.
Of course, living outside the US, what I get a lot of is soccer (called football all over the world). Here’s the thing…I don’t watch soccer. It’s a sport I don’t get and I don’t like. I understand its popularity, and when there are international events I try to keep informed; if I didn’t, my social life would collapse! Every four years I play close attention to the World Cup, and I even host some parties to have people come over and watch games. I will make a confession, I have even watched complete games during previous World Cups.
Recently, though, I started watching some TV ads on ESPN promoting the Rugby World Cup. I figured I would give it a try. I have seen some matches and they have been quite entertaining, even though I understand very little of what’s going on. Watching the opening ceremony, I learned that this sport derived from football (soccer, I mean) in the early 1800s, and that American football developed from rugby. The image that has circled the world is the New Zealand All Blacks, who are the current world champions, chanting their haka before each game. It is really exciting. Something else that is different is that since this is a very demanding sport, physically speaking, teams cannot play every day, so the World Cup lasts over a month even if there are only 20 teams competing. Even though most teams are from countries that are British Commonwealth members, there are teams from Argentina, France, and Uruguay that get to showcase their own styles of rugby. The English-speaking commentators come from different places, and you also get to listen to different accents; this is a little difficult and even confusing, but it is very interesting.