Monday, February 8, 2016

Messages From Myanmar #10

Messages From Myanmar #10
08 February 2016

Hello there… Rodger French here.

Coming close on the heels of Groundhog Day, today marks the beginning of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year: “Year of the Fire Monkey.” And, to compound the awesomeness, it is also Super Bowl Sunday Monday. I will explain.

Super Bowl L - excuse me, “50” - kicked off on Sunday at 18:30 ET; but since Yangon is 11.5 hours ahead of, oh, let’s say Charlotte NC, kickoff here was 06:00 the next day, hence Super Bowl Monday. Which was celebrated in All-American style by the two-dozen or so hardy fans who showed up at the Marine House bright and/or early for the game. The Marines did a fine job of hosting, offering scrambled eggs, French toast, juice, and coffee at modest cost.

The spectators, mostly guys, came for the game, NOT the commercials (largely unmemorable except for the CBS promos, which were actively irritating) or the halftime show (except for Beyoncé, maybe). The game had the requisite compelling story lines: two great defenses, young black QB vs. old white QB, and… well, that was about it. In the end, however, there was only one story and it was about one great defense. For those of you who haven’t heard, Denver beat Carolina 24-10.

[Halftime Sidebar - The halftime show was, like the featured band Coldplay, acceptable. But running in a couple of ringers (Bey and Bruno Mars) was a smart move. Historically, their performance ranks… meh, somewhere in the middle, between the worst show ever (Black Eyed Peas, no contest) and the best (Prince, IMHO).]

The game itself was a mess and a bit of a bore: 18 penalties, 15 punts, 12 sacks, 7 fumbles, 2 interceptions, and several blown calls by the refs. Credit Denver’s defense, they were fierce and deserved to win, although Carolina’s offensive play calling was suspect as hell. The old white QB got his second ring and will hang ‘em up (if he has any sense at all), while the young black QB got his ass handed to him. But, “young” being the operative word, he could well be back, hopefully without having to carry the whole damned team next time.

Anyway… kudos to the Embassy Yangon Marines for hosting America’s premier TV patriotic/religious/commercial sporting event here on the other side of the planet. It was a fun opportunity to hang with fellow expats, viewing the appallingly overhyped finale to another season of a brutal sport that indisputably destroys the brains of many of the people who play it. And no, the irony of my hypocrisy is not lost on me; and yes, I am trying to come to terms with it. But that’s not so easy… I really do enjoy many aspects of the game.

[Personal Sports Sidebar - My father and I bonded watching the Cleveland Browns way back in the day. And just for the record, Jim Brown is still the greatest football player ever.]

In other news, A.J. and I are off to Singapore next weekend to continue celebrating the “Year of the Groundhog Fire Monkey.” Details and photoz presumably to follow. Happy New Year!



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