Bears touchdown in the first 14 SECONDS of the game!! This momentum would propel my team, the Chicago Bears, through the NEXT 14 seconds at LEAST!
...and then all 11 of them would trip and fall, make asses of themselves, and lose in what was really not a very good game of football to the Indiannapolis Colts. It was a travesty, but something I'm getting used to, as I have inherited all Chicago sports team loyalty from 3 generations back. Rev. J says it's not enough to have faith anymore, Chicago fans are running on blind hope now. White Sox fans don't count.
Here in New Zealand, we were denied both the Superbowl commercials, a constant source of amusement once a year, and the vocal stylings of John Madden, a constant source of amusement at LEAST once a year. We DID, however, get to meet back up with our good traveling buddy Ricky, who made it safe and sound back to Wellington after a week of trying to get his passport back and visa information sorted up in Auckland. It was really nice to see him, and we got to catch up pretty much all afternoon.
In addition, Leigh and Jason stopped by the game, too! It was great to be able to talk a little American football with them, and they were happy just to kick back, have a few beers, and learn a little about a holiday that most Americans celebrate but few other countries even know about. After all the rugby we've been watching lately, though, we have to admit, we were a little embarrassed by all the padding that gridders wear, the paychecks they receive, and how often the clock is stopped in any given game. I know that rugby and American football have been compared numerous times before, but I really think both Baby G and I are going to swing on the side of rugby on this debate. It's faster, more athletic, and BRUTAL. We're looking forward to having a 'team' to root for. I mean, cheer for. 'Root' here means something else. :)
The pub was loaded with Americans, wearing pretty much ANY football gear they had with them. It was nice to have a little slice of home for the few hours, and really cool to meet some new people who were there for the same reason we were. EVERYBODY was upset about the lack of commercials, and J&L had a hard time with the fact that we actually WANTED to view ads. I suppose that IS a strange concept. But we had fried appetizers and drinks, and made a cool afternoon of it. The way I figure it, most people don't have their team in the Superbowl every year, and half of the people who do will wake up disappointed the next day. This year, I happened to fall under the category of people whose team MADE it, but simply didn't want it bad enough. You know what would've helped? Ditka.
Today is Waitangi Day. It's a national holiday here in NZ that commemorates the signing of the treaty between the original native Maori people and the European settlers. When BG and I got up this morning, we wished Jason and Leigh a "Happy Waitangi Day", and realized almost immediately how inappropriate that was. Unlike America's July 4th, there is a lot of resentment still brewing over the treaty and what it promised.
Several of the drivers we talked to last week had been talking to us about a general opinion from many Kiwis that New Zealand is 'behind the times' for a first-world-nation. Many think the broadband is slow, or that certain etiquette, art, or pop culture trends have gone from 25 years old to 10 years old recently, but still, obviously, lagging. Baby G and I have noticed SOME of this, though not in very cut and dried terms, and many of the things that some Kiwis feel is lagging is actually an improvement over what we're used to.
That said, there are rat-tails here. Mullets, too. And, everyone, the tendency of the frat-boy dude-bro to pop the collar of his polo shirt UP before going out for the night is JUST GETTING HERE NOW. God, help us.
The reason why I digress, is to make it known that NZ is a very young country. Because the European settlers came so much later than when the US was discovered, there had already been huge advancements in technology and government. By European standards, it wasn't that long ago at all that the treaty was signed, giving the Maori 50% of the land in New Zealand, and the Europeans the other 50%. Because all of this has happened within the last 150 years or so, however, the Maoris have a voice here.
It would be like, if Native Americans had been saying all along that the reservations we were forcing them onto was a bull%^*& deal, and they had congressional representation to back them up. In the States, we are able to hear the plight of the Native American and acknowledge that they got the short end of the stick, but there is no real CURRENT discussion of reparations. African Americans, too. Here, however, it's really cool to see this in action. Statistically, the Maoris seem comparable to many of the African American or Latino population in the States: higher poverty levels, unemplyment, drop out rate, etc. The thing is, when compared to the Native Americans, they can still fight. They have 6 representatives in the government, and every year on this day a great debate occurs that puts the issue of reparation front and center in most people's minds. Imagine if all of a sudden, there were 6 seats in the US government reserved SOLELY for different Native tribes. They'd have a national voice. A leg to stand on. Airtime. Funding. Popular support.
This is not to say anything would be done about it. There would be legal wrangling for generations to come, and it would probably never be sorted out; the mistakes of our great-grandfathers. But at least the argument's there. It is NOT being ignored, and NOT being swept under the rug.
All day long today on TV they're airing documentaries on Waitangi Day and Maori history. There are free concerts and parades, and employees working today are making time-and-a-half for the trouble. There will be some riots, and some fights as well, as this is not a very "Happy" holiday at all.
It breaks down like this: Many years ago, white people came and relegated the brown people to live where they told them to or be shot. We've forgotten that in the States (except maybe on Thanksgiving where we watch teams with names like the "Redskins" play), but this story has two sides to the coin. The great thing about New Zealand is, we get to see, in real time, during THIS generation, what both sides look like and which one will be head's up when it's finally flipped. Most people are hoping it'll land on it's edge, I think. If only ours had, too.