We Watched That American Football Game the Other Evening
If you’re ever far away from somewhere, and you want to get a real good idea of how far it really is, just stay up real late and watch your nation’s internationally televised sports event. Follow that by taking a 5 hour bus ride home. You will realize that how tired you’ve become and how long you sleep afterwards is commensurate with how far away home really is. I can safely say that America is pretty far away right now.
The AZ6s, the group of PCVs that came in the year before us, had their mid-service conference outside Baku this past week, and it also happened to be the weekend of the Superbowl. So what else was there to do but go to Baku and have a Superbowl party? A fairly good amount of folks made it to Baku and we found a place, the Hyatt Regency, in Baku that would put on the Superbowl. Kickoff was about 3:25am Baku time. It was good that there were nearly 50 of us there, so we could all keep each other awake. After the first to plays of the game, my first thoughts were, “Wow, American football is a long game.” That was at about 3:27am.
But, despite gravity and exhaustion working against us, we prevailed and saw the game through. I didn’t really have a stake in the game, so at various points I was cheering for both the Saints and the Colts. I was particularly tired with about seven minutes left, but when the Saints picked off Manning for a touchdown to open up the game at the end, I got a brief burst of energy, made it to the obligatory coach-soaking Gatorade waterfall, and then we all broke for home. Approximately 7:47am.
One last note about this particular Superbowl viewing: commercials. Everyone wants a glimpse of the Superbowl for the commercials. This is most certainly not the case in Azerbaijan. Instead, we watched the match on a local Fox Sports channel and were treated to ads that were promoting future sporting events. From what I gathered throughout the night, we had a selection of less than ten ads. One for a horse competition, three for golf (Geoff Ogilvy had a particularly flattering commercial all to himself), another for baseball, one for American college basketball, and finally one for competitive sailing. Wow. If Fox Sports really wanted to take advantage of an international audience, they could totally exploit this weakness. Everyone in Azerbaijan watches TV. Why not try to lure them to American football with great commercials? I bet they could score a serious chunk of ad revenue and viewers with some decent advertisements, even if the people here don’t understand American football. AND they would get to use their reklam warnings even more.