In one of my earlier posts, A New England Sports Fan Abroad, I wrote about what it was like to miss championship games because of my international antics. But after several Sundays spent at The Great Canadian–a Canadian bar (surprise!) that airs NFL games here in Paris–I can, thankfully, write about what it’s like to watch a game abroad.
One of the first things I thought about when I decided to accept the offer to work for my current company and make the move to Paris was how I would be able to watch my beloved New England Patriots every Sunday. When I lived in the States, I made a point to go to at least one home game every season (last year I upped it to two, in light of my imminent departure), and if I wasn’t at Gillette I was surely glued to a TV somewhere. I’ve definitely had to miss my fair share of games, though, and that wasn’t an occurrence I wished to become a regularity.
The 2011 season, however, was a whole different ball game–pun intended. Not only have I been traveling more (admittedly both for business and for pleasure), but I am of course living in a country where American football isn’t exactly the most popular sport around. If you ask the locals if they’re into football you’ll likely hear a resounding yes, but they’re certainly not talking about tossing the ol’ pigskin. And as if there weren’t enough obstacles to watching a sport in a country that predominantly couldn’t care less about it, I also have to deal with the six to nine hour time difference for watching games taking place in the US–arguably the most difficult element to work around.
Fortunately for me, I was referred to TGC by a fellow American expat and blogger, Michael (you can check out his blog here), and his recommendation couldn’t have been better. Not only have I been able to watch several games during the regular season, but this past weekend I was able to watch the game that turned out to be our first playoff victory since January 20, 2008. This is particularly amazing considering that the game began at a staggering 2am Paris time Saturday night/Sunday morning. Thankfully, TGC came through and stayed open for the entire game, not-so-gently kicking us out at 5:30am. I was able to catch this crucial match-up, share drinks with friends, and make it home on the metro just before the sun came up.
Just for fun, here are some pictures of myself and some friends during the course of the season at our favorite American football hangout:
It’s been a great season so far, but I’m looking forward to what comes next as the Patriots compete against Baltimore for the AFC Championship title! And thank you, TGC, for giving me a little piece of home every Sunday. Now for next week: Let’s kick some Baltimore butt, boys!
Tagged: AFC Championship 2012, American expat, American football, Baltimore Ravens, expat, France, New England Patriots, NFL, Paris, sports, Travel
HI Nikki, the bar i work in, Belushis Gare du nord, is launching NFL Sundays this week and we’re trying the spread the word. If you’re still in Paris we would love if you could come along to our sports basement and try it out. We’ll be showing two games every week and am trying to offer great value for our guests as well as a really cool atmosphere. I can be contacted at email@example.com and can answer any questions you may have. Thanks for your consideration, Ben
Hi, i am a chronic sports geek from Seattle and very excited to be visiting Paris for my very first time this week, but one of the biggest regular season games in the history of my beloved Seahawks will be played this Sunday. Might the game be on at your place? i would so love to be able to watch it.
Hi Don! Hopefully the commenter above is playing your game, but if you have any doubt, don’t hesitate to call my favorite football hideout in Paris: The Great Canadian. They can speak English so you can easily verify if they’ll be showing your game, but with a matchup as big as Seatlle vs. San Fran, I can’t imagine they won’t show it. 🙂 Good luck to you and Seattle (my favorite West Coast team)!
Hi Don and Nikki, Unfortunately we will not be showing the Seahawks game as sky has picked Bears vs Vikings followed by the giants against the broncos as the main games this week. However we will have the red zone on to show highlights but i can understand this doesnt match up to the whole game! Nikki would you care to be our guest of honour soon?
I’d be happy to come by for a game soon! I’m booked up for the next few weekends, but hopefully in October I’ll have the chance to come by. I’ll check with you first to see if you’ll be playing the Patriots! It will be great to check out a new venue for NFL games, and maybe you and I could say a quick hello? Would love to write about a new spot for fans to catch the game in Paris… 🙂
That would be great, i’m here most days so just let me know when’s good for you, doesn’t have to be game night either. Also will keep an eye out for the pats games!!