The trouble with loving a sport that isn't played in your home country (or continent for that matter) is finding a mainstream sports channel that would actually air the games.
I think it was about 5 years ago when ESPN Asia stopped airing Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football. Even a local sports channel that used to air NFL games stopped showing doubleheaders of the afternoon games. Well, I guess I'm used to it in a way. Golf is shown on TV a lot, given its popularity in Asia, but very few from my generation (or even my workplace, surprisingly) actually play the sport, let alone love it like I do. I'm not complaining, but I'm left to play with my dad and his friends. But at least I can play AND watch golf on TV! For me, "playing" American football means coercing some friends to toss a football around with me and run the occasional go route. Watching, on the other hand, means checking out the ESPN.com and NFL.com highlights after all is said and done. Quite pathetic, as you could probably imagine. Luckily, I stumbled upon "The Maine Event", a live blog by D'Arcy Maine, which is now my favorite non-TV source for my football fix.
Since I live on the other side of the world, Sunday games fall on Monday mornings here, Monday nighters, on Tuesdays. I'm usually on the shuttle van to work while the games are on-going, and I follow the games live (well, as live as it gets anyway) using my suddenly obsolete Nokia 6120c which has a (whopping) two-inch screen. I go to m.espn.go.com/nfl, click on the game I want to "watch", then hit the refresh button every minute or so to get the latest from the play-by-play text.....
3-4 NYJ 19 (6:42) 42-B.Green-Ellis right tackle to NYJ 15 for 4 yards (24-D.Revis).
1-10 NYJ 15 (6:12) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 83-W.Welker for 15 yards, TOUCHDOWN....then let my imagination do the rest. It's certainly a poor substitute to watching on TV, but I've had to make do. That was until, I curiously clicked on a link under ESPN Mobile's header which said:
7:55 PM: We're sitting the VIP area typically reserved for Maple Leafs, Raptors or any visiting team players. A number of people have looked over hoping to see someone famous. They don't seem too thrilled when they see me. Weird....before I knew it, it was line after funny line. Not exactly the play-by-play I was expecting. In fact, I almost forgot to check the play-by-play! As it turned out, D'Arcy's game commentary turned out to be just as entertaining as the game itself!
9:09 PM: No doubt about it. This is a Pats bar. Hockey air horn going off for BJGE's TD. Current score: Pats, 10, Jets 0, D'Arcy 3 pounds gained.
10:22 PM: Debating whether or not to try the Hail Mary challenge. It does not require me to throw a football. It does require me to eat a 67 ounce steak, a pound of fries and a pound of coleslaw. This will end well. If I stop blogging, I more than likely had a heart attack.
10:38 PM: My boss emailed me telling me to stop eating. Hope this doesn't come up in my annual review. I guess I will not be participating in the Hail Mary contest. Next time.In sloppy, boring games D'Arcy once called "field goal conventions", the live blog proves to be even more entertaining than the game.
Now, one has to realize, D'Arcy is a New England Patriots fan. Of course, I'm not too sure she can say it outright, being a writer for ESPN and all, but it's not hard to figure that out. I, on the other hand, can say it outright. I LOVE the Patriots. Now that makes it doubly fun to read the blog... especially when the Pats are blowing out the Dolphins on Monday Night Football (which has happened two years in a row, mind you):
10:56 PM: These fans are leaving faster than Angelina. At least they have a good reason to leave.
11:03 PM: Fan just featured on the jumbotron with a "We Can Do This" sign. I'm not sure what exactly "they" can do. But I don't think it's win.
11:13 PM: So, apparently it can get worse if you're a Dolphins fan. Patrick Chung with the interception and 51-yard TD. Patriots 41, Dolphins 14. But it is a palindrome. So at least there's that.
11:33 PM: Loudspeaker playing "Don't Stop Believing". I can think of about 98879874983274 songs that are more appropriate right now.2011
9:51 PM: Announced paid attendance: 66,860. This will be questioned next during the Tea Party debate.
9:54 PM: Down goes Henne. As well as his dignity, pride and life expectancy.
9:56 PM: ...As well as the crowd attendance. Mass exodus has begun. I'm still surprised Fergie's signing didn't have that effect earlier.
10:16 PM: I think the cheerleaders are leaving. This can't be a good sign.
10:25 PM: Fergie. Still here. Smiling and dancing in her suite. Just like all NFL owners do during the final minutes of a loss.
10:29 PM: If you switch over to ESPN2 to watch the Raiders-Broncos, I won't judge you. You've made it longer than all of the Dolphins fans at the stadium.I guess these blowouts really induce some inspired writing. Apparently, we all get a little extra when the games are played in Miami. D'Arcy usually has quite a bit to say about LIV...
8:57 PM: The press box is conviently located next to Liv Nightclub. Not exactly the same crowd. Although a lot of middle-aged guys in both. I would go check it out (for you, of course) but it costs $15,000 to sit on a couch at Liv. Yes, $15,000. Leading me to believe there are no worthy charities in the Miami area. But there sure are a lot of fist pumpers.
9:59 PM: Someone from LIV tried to crawl into the press box from the outside window. Reason #9834 putting a nightclub next to a press box isn't the best idea.
11:22 PM: Scene at Liv Nightclub: "Fans" alternating between texting and taking pictures of themselves. Money well spent.
...and the Florida Marlins:
11:06 PM: The mass exodus continues. Crowd is now at about 30% capacity. Starting to look like a Marlins game.
11:19 PM: A Patriots chant has broken out. This really is just like a Marlins game.I'm sure you realize by now why I love D'Arcy's humor so much, and why I've continued following her blog (not to mention following her on Twitter). Speaking of following... Well, I don't actually have a "personal" Twitter account. I have one for The Old Soul Store (by the way, follow the store! @oldsoulstore). I usually try to keep personal comments to a minimum (like any good storekeeper should when using a "company" account), but after reading this:
4:04 PM: That does it for me from the Meadowlands. Although I'll be rushing to catch McCown's press conference so I'll make to post any quotes on my Twitter feed (see link above). I'll be back here tomorrow night as the Giants host the Rams. Hope you'll join me then as well. Enjoy the rest of today's games! And go Pa...uh, passer ratings! Yeah, that's it.I just couldn't help it. I had to tweet. I broke my own rules on using the "company" Twitter account. But hey, I got rewarded for it!
Still haven't gotten her to follow me (well, the store) in return though (HI D'ARCY!). I'm hoping this post would... Hmmm...
ANYWAY... Between the Marlins jokes, the subtle (and not-so-subtle) Patriots references and the flat-out hilarious takes on the goings-on in the game from a fan perspective, this blog has just got me hooked. It matches the entertainment value of any good, accurate NFL play-by-play out there. Now, don't get me wrong, nothing can truly replace the excitement of watching the games themselves... but while I don't have that luxury, I'm certainly counting on "apostrophe Maine" and her witty one-liners to help keep my football sanity intact. Perhaps in the future, I'll have the pleasure of watching the game, while keeping tabs on the other "Maine Event".
Quoted lines courtesy of D'Arcy Maine and The Maine Event on ESPN Mobile. Visit ESPN Mobile and follow D'Arcy Maine on Twitter: @darcymaine_espn