Last night was the Super Bowl - the end of the NFL season and a wonderful American tradition in which we watch football (REAL football), drink, eat junk food, watch hilarious commercials, and yell and scream until we have no voices, all in the name of rooting for our prefered team. Though I may live in France now, I am still American, and therefore am not at all willing to miss the Super Bowl. So in true expat style, I was out at a sports bar in the center of Paris until the wee hours of the morning, rooting on the Indianapolis Colts and having a good old night of American style fun!
I went with two American friends, Jasmin and Angela, and one French friend, Julie (who was experiencing her first Super Bowl), to a sports bar called Players Bar on Rue Montmartre next to the Grands Boulevards metro stop. We had originally planned to go to one of the many Anglophone bars in the center of Paris (The Great Canadian, The Moose, Millers Bar, Long Hop), but in the end most of them required extremely high covers to get in and watch the game, and while I love the Super Bowl, I still didn't want to spend 30 euros cover. The bar was actually amazing and I'm really happy with our choice and think I will probably be watching Super Bowls there for years to come. It was huge (a former club) with three levels and plenty of seating. They were having a Super Bowl party sponsored by ESPN America complete with football helmets, gifts, give-a-ways, entertainment before the game, and cheerleaders. Decorations included ESPN American balloons and American flags EVERYWHERE. They had a cover there as well, but it was only 5 euros and included one drink, so it was definitely worth it.
We got there early and had dinner (a delicious hamburger with real bacon and cheddar cheese) and then settled in to enjoy some beers and the game. The drinks were a little expensive, but as the Super Bowl is only once a year, we had decided to let ourselves enjoy it. We even gave in to the true American-ness of the evening and enjoyed some ice cold Budweiser!
As I said, I was rooting for the Colts, as was everyone else I came with. And I think we were the ONLY table of people in the entire, gigantic bar who were rooting for them. Naturally, we left disappointed while everyone else in the bar was screaming excitedly over the New Orleans' win. I'm still quite shocked that the Saints won. The Colts were the favorites and if they had played the entire game like they did in the first quarter they would have won by a landslide. I don't know what happened but in the second half they played like they didn't even want it, and so of course they didn't get it. The Who played the half time show and it was quite good, though shorter than the past few years. The only thing that was missing was the commercials. You know, the amazing, extremely hilarious, sides splitting in laughter, commercials that are always aired during the Super Bowl in the US. Unfortunately, us expats no longer have the right to enjoy the time-honored tradition of the Super Bowl commercial. Which is why I have to watch them online tonight. I have to at least know what everyone is talking about!
Other than missing out on the commercials, I love watching the Super Bowl in another country. It's a great way to come together as Americans and feel unified around an event that is purely American. It gives you a taste of home and a truly American experience, no matter where you are and it is one of the few times a year that I feel a complete link to America here in Paris. Not to mention it's nice to meet other Americans. And this is why I make an effort to watch the Super Bowl every year, no matter where I am. Two years ago it was in Paris, last year I watched it while on vacation in Budapest, and this year it was back in Paris. And I never regret the choice to stay up until 4:30am (the game starts at 12:30am and ends around 4-4:30am for us here in Paris) on a Sunday night to watch the highlight of the NFL season. Sure I was tired at work today, but it was worth it, even if the Colts let me down!