Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Superbowl: Football, American Style

           The Super Bowl—the national championship football game-­‐-­‐will be played on Sunday, February 2, in New Jersey. Football is as popular in the U.S. as fútbol is in Spain. I don’t know anything about the game, so I asked my friend Anthony Miksak—who follows the San Francisco 49ers football team—to write something about it for you.
           He was excited to talk to you about it. He asked his friend Alberto, who lives in Italy, to tell you what he thinks about American football. Alberto, like you, is learning English, and he wrote: ““I believe that football is one of the best sports to describe life. Why? Because in this sport as in life to achieve a goal (the touchdown) or to earn a little piece of the field you really need to fight very hard.
           “However, all this is not possible without the help of your own teammates. In their different roles, they support you, your actions, and most of all, when you fall down they are there, close to you, to help you get up.”
            Anthony writes, “Alberto understands the sport well. Like you, he’s learning English, and like you, I’m also learning a second language – in my case, Italian. 
           “Alberto lives in a small town in central Italy, and through the magic of satellite TV he follows his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, of Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is such a fan he watches every game, even at 3 in the morning. He has a Green Bay scarf in green and yellow hanging on his wall.”
            Anthony then tells us, “In 1950 I was five years old. My family moved from New York City to San Francisco, where I soon got interested in football.
            “I read about the Christopher Milk Junior Forty-­‐Niners Club on the side of a milk carton. I cut out the coupon and sent it in. I got back a membership card with my name on it and a letter signed by George Christopher (who later became the mayor of San Francisco).
“Soon I was attending football games -­‐-­‐ for free! -­‐-­‐ with fellow members of the Christopher Milk Junior Forty-­‐Niners Club. The games were at Kezar Stadium, a short walk from our apartment. I developed a hero-­‐worship for the best players of that day – YA Tittle (quarterback), Hugh McElhenny (halfback) – and many others.
            “When I was old enough to play football, I wanted to throw the ball like YA and run like McElhenny. I did throw the ball and I ran, and I wore the pads and helmet, but I was never a very good player.
             “Even now, when age and wisdom have slowed me to a walk, I still root for ‘my’ 49ers. I yell when they score and groan when they don’t. I can feel my legs tighten and my feet get ready to run every time someone from the other team needs to be tackled – right – now – hooray! They threw him for a loss!
              “The next play will be a pass. I’m sure about it.
              “Now I have to stop writing so I can watch!”
               Tony’s 49ers won’t be in the Super Bowl. Neither will Alberto’s Packers. But 
for Tony and Alberto, it won’t really matter: they’ll watch the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks fight for the trophy. As they say, it’s like watching life.

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