Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NFL in London

Once a year since 2007, the NFL has traveled to London for a football game at Wembley Stadium. Since we have been here, we have been in the country for almost every game the NFL teams have played in England, however there have not been teams of great interest to us (or should I say of interest to Scott) until this year.

When it was announced that the Chicago Bears would be playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Scott knew immediately that he wanted to attend this game. I think I heard him chanting "Bear Down, Chicago Bear" as soon as he first heard the Bears would be coming across the pond.

So, we purchased tickets with some friends and made the journey down to Wembley Stadium in London for the game last Sunday evening. It was a bit strange to experience an American football game in a British setting but it was definitely a fun experience!
One of the first big noticeable differences in attending a football game in the UK was that the concession stands were serving British fare, and not American hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels! It felt rather strange to have options such as fish and chips available at a football game, but I went with it and ordered scampi and chips. The pre-game field show was interesting. The Goo-Goo Dolls performed and the Buccaneer cheerleaders put on a show (since they were considered to be the "home" team for this game). We were there with our friends Holly & Kevin. Holly & I had a good time chatting and watching the game while the boys talked sports the entire game! Also as part of the pre game field "show," both the National Anthem and God Save the Queen were performed. And along with the songs, there were American flags on the field (as you see with the people standing underneath the red, white, and blue colors), and then the seated attendees in the stadium held up red, white and blue papers to make a large Union Jack out of the crowd. It was very cool.

Given the high population of Americans who live in London (close to 500,000 in London alone), I thought the crowd would mainly be made up of Americans. However when God Save the Queen was performed and the crowd chimed in, I realized we, as Americans, were in the minority for this game.
Luckily for Scott, we were able to see the Bears beat up on the Bucs in a great game. It was fun to have a little bit of an American sporting tradition over here, even if it had a British "twist" to it.

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