Sport! Who does it better? America vs Britain
One of the passions we hold dear is the wonderful sporting experiences our friends across the pond put on and how different it is from how we do it here in good old Blighty.
We take a light-hearted look at the differences between the 2 and hopefully whet your appetite for those fabulous Sunday gamedays taking in the razamattazz of the National Football League!
We just had to start with the tailgate parties over in the States. Fans meet in the parking lot around 4 hours before KO and BBQ (or ‘grill out’) of the back of their vehicles. This can be anything from families of 4 minding their own business or enormous fan groups of up to 500 where there are DJ’s, beer pong and flying footballs. This is a real ‘must’ when over in the States and is tremendous fun all done in good spirits.
In the UK, it is either straight to the stadium 30 mins to 1 hour before kick off, or the good old pub visit in walking distance to the stadium. For instance, when going to Twickenham, the pubs are jam packed with excited rugby fans shoulder to shoulder sampling smooth pints of Guinness in keen anticipation!
In America, expect mini concerts, cheer-leading, marching bands and more.
In Britain, expect 46 year old Brian trying to hit the bar from the penalty spot for £50.
I know what I’m choosing.
Generally, the Americans do not segregate supporters. Even in the greatest rivalries in American sport – Packers vs Bears, Celtic vs Yankees and so on, the supporters remain together and the banter does not cross the line. The support is fanatical, the love for their teams is incredible and the competitive nature is right up there. Alcohol is often restricted in stadiums or at times a lot lighter. It’s a wonderful culture and really adds to the whole experience.
In the UK, sports such as cricket and Rugby Union subscribe to the mixed supporters theory. These 2 old and famous British sports lead the way in fan behaviour whilst remaining fanatical about their team’s results. However, football (soccer) at all levels of the professional pyramid has the need to segregate the supporters. This is undoubtedly a required regulation, even with the no drinking of alcohol in the stands, given the decades of fan violence and hooliganism that still exists in today’s game. Football is showing no signs of following Rugby Union’s lead any time soon, and some would say quite right too!
WEAR YOUR JERSEY!
Something that I have noticed at my various sporting experiences across the US, almost EVERYONE wears their team’s jersey…what’s more, grown adults have their favourite player’s name on the back. This fad stops at the age of around 13 with us Brits. I think the sea of colours really adds to the atmosphere and excitement. Think Holland ‘soccer’ fans at a major championship – wonderful!
Here in Britain, some do wear their teams playing shirts to watch the games, but it is much less – perhaps the older you get, the more likely you are to wear plain clothes. To hammer home the issue of crowd problems in football, some ardent supporters will even deem it safer to wear neutral colours at away games.
Thankfully, only rarely do Americans try this, but when they do, it’s hide behind your hands time. No offence to our American buddies, but we simply suggest you leave the singing and chanting to the Brits and stick to what you’re good at! If you don’t know what I mean, Google ‘Emerald City Supporters – Come on Seattle’. Say no more.
Singing for your teams is a staple diet of football fans up and down the country and you can often hear the dulcet tones of the terraces for a full 90 minutes. Rugby fans have a limited songbook that comes out less often but with grandeur when it does…think Gloucester Rugby. The slow and sedate nature of cricket is not conducive to exercising those vocal cords, however England Cricket’s Barmy Army have an endless repertoire of humorous and passionate songs for their heroes.
A SOCIAL EVENT
Americans seem to see the opportunity of game day to spend time with friends and family as much as watch their beloved team. As mentioned, the tailgating culture and length of the games ensure this is an all-day event. During the game, it is normal to wander off for 30 minutes to get food, drink or generally stretch your legs and have a chat.
Over here, across all sports, we tend to be stuck to our seats. In my experience, just before half time, there is a rush to the loo followed by a swiftly drunk pint before the race to get back for the start of the second half!
That’s it! When spectating across the pond, we advise one simple motto – EMBRACE IT!
Embrace the jersey wearing, embrace the tailgate party, embrace the socialising, embrace the opposing fans, embrace the half time entertainment and embrace the show that’s before you. We want to help you create those very special memories that stay with you forever.