Of the odd draw of culturally specific sports

So, here’s the thing, queridos lectoras y lectores: An American abroad does things she would normally ignore and avoid at home. Case in point–tonight I watched the Bulls vs. Heat NBA game at a well-known ex-pat bar in my neighborhood. I even ordered a plate of hot wings. Bless the flying buffaloes from whence those alitas came! They were a.) actually picante and b.) delicious. I suppose I should be clear that I love hot wings at home, too, but oh how disproportionately tasty they are in a far-away and virtually spice-free land. I should also be clear (and you will have figured this out by now) that I couldn’t care less about NBA games State-side, excluding the occasional basket-ball themed gathering with a few boys in Atwater Village who can explain things to me. Somehow here, though, I love them. U.S. sports touch the weird, if shriveled and black, American heart in me. And sometimes it’s just so comforting to be present in a room full of people who share your fatherland.

This was a particularly good day for sports in Buenos Aires, not so much for the NBA game (obviously) but because today the local futbol rivals went head to head for the ‘Superclasico,’ title. The Boca Juniors and River had quite a show down. Boca took down River in a 2-0 home win. I passed a bar where folks were watching the game this afternoon in Palermo just as the winning goal was made. The ‘gooooaaaaalllllllll’ screams could have been heard for a good mile but there I was, entirely accidentally, amid the hinchas.

I may be a lover of chicken wings but sports don’t really don’t it for me. Except, of course, when they are a phenomenon so specific either to the culture into which I am trying to enter or the culture from which I hail.

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