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!