Today is another Football Sunday, when Rob and I spend the day watching a lot of football, drinking beer, obsessing about our fantasy teams and just generally being American, so we thought we’d share a little of it with you!
Watching football is of course the key part of the day, usually in a bar with friends. Because football is so big in America and Americans are generally super friendly this is a really nice thing to do – everyone just chats away in one big group, most bars provide free snacks, and when someone gets a touchdown we all throw our hands up and jump around. It’s also not unusual for this to be a family thing, so people don’t get too drunk and aren’t very competitive. We’ve quite happily watched games with fans of competing teams, and you just have a great time lightly roasting each other.
I think part of what makes football here so popular is that it’s primarily designed to be fun to watch, rather than focusing on athleticism like a sport arguably should. We were lucky enough to go watch the Rocky Mountain showdown a few weeks ago, which is a college game between the two local universities – CSU (where Rob works) and CU. We were of course rooting for CSU, but CU are a significantly better team and invariably win. That’s not important though, because the game happens at Mile High Stadium (where the Denver Broncos play) and there is all sorts of nonsense happening besides the game itself.
Firstly, the stadium: Mile High is a beautiful open air stadium in Denver city center, and late night games mean that you get to watch the sun set behind the stadium as you play:
You can see that it’s also pretty massive (capacity 76,125 – about the same as Old Trafford) and almost alarmingly well lit.
Second, the band. You can see them in the first picture marching around in formation, which they were pretty darn good at. They made quite a lot of noise throughout the game, and were great fun to watch:
Between the players, the band, the cheerleaders and the other support it’s weird to think how many of the CSU students are actually just there to support the football team. There’s a fair amount of travel involved, so studying must take a hit.
Speaking of cheerleaders, you can see some of them here alongside interesting thing number three – the gigantic artillery cannon…
It’s there in the bottom right being manned by the nice army men, and goes off whenever either team scores a touchdown/ extra point. Despite all the noise going on in the stadium, the cannon cuts through quite nicely! I’m still getting the hang of not flinching whenever it goes off, and this was not made any easier by the fact that at a recent CSU game they had a GUEST firing the cannon! I don’t know what training he had, but the cannon was going off at pretty unpredictable times, which caused everyone to flinch (including the players).
Last but not least, the mascots! CSU’s mascot is Cam the Ram, who always attends the game and does a lap of the field whenever CSU get a touchdown. Here he is nicely decked out in his CSU gear, being looked after by his entourage.
Our friend once asked a member of the team where Cam is kept, and was told that this was ‘privileged information’… so it’s good to know that Cam is being spoiled nicely and kept very safe, and he seemed surprisingly unfazed by the crowd or the cannon-fire.
The CU team likewise have a mascot, and one that I suspect is a little harder to handle than Cam – Ralphie the Buffalo! It was not easy to get pictures of Ralphie, but here he is being moved onto the pitch for a lap, and then running around whilst dragging his team alongside him:
I love how in the last picture you can see that almost everyone has lost their hat, and are running as fast as their little legs can carry them. It really did not take Ralphie a long time to run across the field and back, after which he was taken away again to go relax.
I was pretty excited to see the Ralphie running around, and I strongly recommend watching a few YouTube videos where Ralphie decides to go off-script:
So anyway, with all this the game ends up lasting quite a while!
As well as the actual football games, we have our own very competitive Fantasy Football league with friends from Rob’s work. This year there are 20 of us, and we all pick up players from the league to make our own unique teams. Players cannot appear in more than one team, and you have limited bench space. Since your team inevitably ends up being made up of players from a wide range of teams, you then have a stake in multiple games instead of just your own team’s game.
For extra fun this year, your team also has to have a pun based name. Mine and Rob’s teams are the New England Catriots (instead of New England Patriots) and the Oakland Ringos (instead of Oakland Raiders). I’m proud to say that the names across the rest of the league are no less sublime! I came second in the league last year (so close…) and currently I’m ranked 6th and Rob is 9th. We should both win this week and move up a little, so fingers crossed!!
Finally, I should just mention the drinks. As I’ve said we drink mostly beer, but the massive need for day drinking caused by Football Sunday has led to some truly magical innovations within the drinks industry. My favorite of these is Wisconsin Bloody Mary’s, which are the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. They’re basically regular Bloody Mary’s, but with EXTREMELY generous food placement on the skewers. Normally you get a piece of bacon and an olive if you’re lucky, but not in Wisconsin…
It’s really a miracle anyone lives to 50.
It’s a lot of fun though, like I said, and we enjoy it a lot 🙂 The game starts soon so I’m off!
More soon xx