Yesterday was Superbowl Sunday. I have never been a big fan of american football. In fact I didn’t even know who was playing until a few hours before. I googled “Where to watch the superbowl in BsAs” and found my spot. Around 10pm I left my house anticipating a night full of english language and rabid football fans frothing at the mouth wearing that football jersey everyone told them not to bring to south america. On the way I stopped by my favorite empenada place to fill up on some cheap eats and booze before I was forced to pay american prices. The place was packed with people standing on toilets and sitting on the beer fridges which is not normal for this place. But it was normal when the TV is showing the Boca Jrs v. River Plate futbol (soccer) game. I decided to stay and mingle with the locals and drink two liters of Quilmes and watch the first half of the game which ended at 1-0 boca. I then found my way to the superbowl bar and watched part of the game. The futbol game was between two of the biggest teams in the country being played at a neutral field so I thought it was a good cahnce to compare to the superbowl.
Many of my friends back home will go into great detail of why football is an amazing game. Most of their descriptions are comprised of some sort of comparison with being on a battlefield and you have the general who is barking out orders and how hard it can be to move only a yard and all this hubaloo. All very accurate. Football players train to do a single activity and do it very well. That activity might be running, catching, blocking, hitting, throwing, kicking, whatever. Then plays are constructed around these particular activities which are then practiced over and over again. Then in a game time situation these plays will be executed with precision and hopefully result in some gained yardage or stop the opposition moving forward. The quarter back will have a sheet of paper taped to his arm with a list of these plays since there are so many he could never remember them all. He then has a microphone/speaker in his ear which is connected to a multitude of people on the sidelines who are analyzing pictures taken from a blimp, the moisture in the air, the colors of the other teams socks, and a bunch more of other factors which dictate what play the team will try next. The team is usually comprised of 50 or more players with maybe half as many coaches and a small army of support staff to clean helmets, itch jocks, pass water bottles around, and so on.
Indeed. Futbol takes on a slightly different approach. Each team consists of players who, for the most part, are able to play any position on the field and this is a necessity. Futbol rarely ever stops and the play will shift from back to front to left to right and without notice you might find yourself being a defender or with an oppurtunity to score a goal. A team usually has two to three coaches with some athletic trainers to do the water bottle passing. The coach can bark commands and is often compelled to look good on the sidelines but he and everyone else knows that once the game starts, the fate of the game is up to the players.
Football is a game of fleeting oppurtunities that give any given player the chance to be a star or a failure. Futbol is a game that allows you to construct these oppurtunities. Not to say there are no fleeting moments but they are rare. Football is a game of incremental satisfaction while futbol is a game of ultimate satisfaction. This can better be explained with some examples. At the american bar last night, everyone would sit down and be quiet. Every now and then a sudden jump and roar of celebration as there team caught a pass and gained 14 yards. This celebration would be intertwined with a lot more moments of dissatisfaction for the team failed in some way. At the argentine futbol game people would not blink for minutes at a time. You could see the people slowly rising out of their seats as if to prepare for what was about to happen but then it never would happen so they would lower back down and maybe lubricate their eyes or mouth. Then if a goal does go in, the house goes crazy and only then do they feel satisifed. There are times when players mess up and people will scoff but it isn’t the end of the game and they can recover. Football keeps you with small bursts of somewhat good things. Soccer keeps you the entire time with the construction of the goal, or the ultimate satisfaction.
A 0-0 game in soccer is not a BAD game. It is possible to be exhausted after a 0-0 game. You could have been kept in this tantric, almost about to ejaculate, state as both teams are hovering on the edge of victory but equally amazing plays are preventing them from doing that.
The argentines were generally not so drunk. The americans were all drunk and slurring. The argentines tended to pay attention to the game. The americans were all over the place. The argentines applauded frequently. Americans yelled. Argentine game had no commercials. Superbowl is famous for its commercials and people even say they look forward to watching them. The crowd at the argentine game was intense, it gave me the shivers just watching it as the two teams walked out.
These two sports are very representative of the two political systems being represented by the two countries. Football gives the middle class small incentives to make themselves think that they are getting a lot when they really are not. Thus the wierd scoring system. Futbol is more indicative of the very poor fighting and fighting for what they want and only every now and then they get what they want regardless of how many people might be supportin them.
In conclusion the soccer game was much better, I ended up leaving the american bar before the game was over due to an overflow of oversized american males.