Saturday, December 5, 2009

That's not cricket! (Thank goodness)

Just in case anyone thinks it's all fun and games over here in the land of sand, you should know there ARE hardships.

Like trying to follow college and pro football, American-style, from nine time zones away in a place overrun by cricket and soccer fans.

(Want to get a rise out of a Brit? Tell him the reason you're leaving the pub at 9:30 on a Sunday night is so you can hurry home and watch some "real" football.)

The 1 o'clock NFL games kick off at 10 pm here, and the late games at 1:15 a.m. And you can forget about Sunday and Monday Night Football; they don't even bother.

I've yet to find a pub that shows the games. But with a satellite package at my flat, I get three or four NFL games each week. It's a seemingly random draw, although tomorrow night the Falcons will be on for the fourth time this season.

They do strange things on the broadcasts. Many times, the crowd noise is muted, so as you watch the action it sounds like Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston are talking in an empty room. When the network cuts away to the studio -- "Let's go to Curt Menefee for an update" -- the camera stays on the field and all you get is silence.

Sometimes they block the scores ticker, sometimes they don't. Same with the halftime show. And there are no commercials -- that time is filled with promo spots from Showtime, the satellite provider.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I like soccer just fine, and I'm slowly beginning to figure out cricket. But this is my kind of football. It even inspired me to make my first Abu Dhabi chili last Sunday. Who cares if it was 3 a.m. and the only game on was the Jaguars and 49ers?


  1. There was a swell college game played in Atlanta today that you probably wish you had seen. I've got three words for you (and they aren't Abu Dhabi Do):

    Ala Damn Bama!!!!!!!!!

    The Gators messed themselves. Bobby Bowden could've beat them today, I swear...

  2. ...well, maybe with Alabama's players Bobby could've played 'em close.

  3. You're not missing much from a pro perspective. The Falcons are horrible. The college scene has been fun, even though my coach, the fatest one alive, got fired last week because he was too mean. What a bunch of sissies! Love the blog!