A special submission from a St. Louis Rams fan in the United Kingdom, Andy Allsopp.
Abroad Thoughts From Home
The NFL is good for family life in the UK. It is also helping enormously with the education of our children. I could pull together a convincing argument that its done more than successive government policies over the past eight years, in fact. Really. It all to do with timing, and incentivisation.
What is a Sunday afternoon ritual in the US, is of course a Sunday evening ritual here in the UK. Let me explain a little more through the example of my beautiful, frequently amusing and always noisy kids, Will and Fred.
Sunday afternoon is homework time. And while education policy in the UK may be the reason why school bags come home full of the stuff at weekends, one thing policies can guarantee is that the homework will get done.
That’s where the NFL comes in.
Get that homework done on Sunday afternoon, and come 6pm, we can let the game(s) begin. You would not believe how much easier Autumn and winter Sunday afternoons are to manage for a parent, thanks to the prospect of a teatime gridiron watchfest.
Many kids at UK schools now follow the NFL. The big ticket franchises predominate, but in a town like ours, which has a reasonable American population thanks to two nearby US airbases, US expat kids and their families help matters along because follow a more diverse range of teams. I have yet to meet another Rams fan in our town, mind you.
Granted, kids are not quite talking about the Niners or the Gi8ants in the playground before Arsenal or Man Utd’s games get analysed just yet, but it’s coming along. (As I write, Stoke City have just scored against Arsenal in the UK premier league. Mr. Kroenke will not be amused.)
It’s not a perfect system, I grant you. For a start, Will and Fred follow different teams. This can create issues especially if the Rams or the Bears (I know, I’m working on it) games clash.
Then there is the issue of a later than noon start, especially if it is a west coast game. This takes us up to 9 p.m. our time which means bedtime is looming and we run the risk of them following the games on their mobile phones or laptops after they’ve been dispatched to bed.
But for now, all is unusually quiet at home. In anticipation of tonight’s Rams match up against the Cowboys, Fred has his head in Math and Will is doing a fair impression of concentrating on his books before the Bears take on the Steelers. If only their father was so disciplined about completing his own homework.
That restructuring report can wait until I’ve finished this blog.
Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your NFL Sundays, Andy. (You can find him on Twitter @andyallsopp.)