For this week’s guest blogger, we have the pleasure of introducing Candace Kuss, an American expat who’s been living in London for more than six years.
With Super Bowl season upon us, Candace shares with Expat Explorer readers, the incurable homesickness of missing Super Bowl Sunday.
Missing the Super Bowl
Missing friends and family during the holidays is a common expat experience. But for Americans like me, incurable homesickness attacks hardest during our biggest unofficial holiday — Super Bowl Sunday.
It is the only day that can’t be truly celebrated on foreign soil. London is lovely at Christmas time. Halloween is growing in popularity. Thanksgiving is all about English expats (aka Pilgrims). And it is cheeky good fun to have British friends over to toast and roast on the Fourth of July.
But living in a country where football means soccer, it is impossible to translate what the Super Bowl experience is all about. The BBC, with kind condescension, will broadcast the game, but not the commercials, even though they will be analysed as seriously and as deeply as the game itself. Indeed, it is the Super Bowl which has single-handedly kept the glamour of TV advertising alive, even as social media soaks up all the oxygen and marketing spend keeps moving online.
It is this carnival surrounding the spotlight stealing ad sideshow that make Super Bowl Sunday a holiday for all American. The fight to entertain us during the commercial breaks can make even a dull game fun. You don’t have to be a football fan to join the party. Families all over America stock up on beer, chips, dips, ribs and red velvet cupcakes with their team’s logo. There’s a reason Doritos and Budweiser are the brands that go large for the game. For the last five years, Doritos’ mega ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ contest has consumers creating their own Doritos commercial for a chance to win a million dollars and the fame of having their ad shown in the game. And my personal favourite, the Budweiser Clydesdales, is an American icon in their own right.
The pain of a loyal Patriot on the sidelines
Before I was an expat in London, I emigrated from Long Island, New York to Boston, Massachusetts. Thrown into a sports obsessed city, I went over to the other side and swore allegiance to the Celtics, Red Sox and the Patriots - all bitter rivals with the teams from New York. So imagine my joy, not to mention that of the network executives, to be gifted with this year’s rematch of the New York Giants vs the New England Patriots. Historic teams from huge media markets. MVP quarterback (Tom Brady) with a super model wife vs MVP quarterback (Eli Manning) from a legendary football family and Madonna at halftime. Oh my! The coverage is insane. This year, NBC Sports Network will air more than 18 hours of live programming ahead of the game. It’s like the entire hoopla of an Olympics squeezed into one day.
But sadly, I will miss the parties, the mass quantities of food, the electricity of the whole country coming together in celebration. As I struggle to stay awake in GMT, tweeting and texting friends, I will vow to be there in person this time next year. Let’s go Pats!
About the author
Candace Kuss is an American in London. Voting address is beautiful Sonoma California but her sport homebase is Boston. When not watching sport highlight clips online, she runs the Interactive Lab for H+K. Please say hi on Twitter, check out the work blog and, if you are inclined, root for her team, the New England Patriots to crush the Giants on Super Bowl Sunday.