By Oğuzhan Özkan
I’ve never been an American football fan. It is not even football for me, just some bumpy male bravado which happens somewhere around this time of the year, and some team named after an animal (mostly) wins a trophy. Or a bowl. I am not sure because I’ve never been around to see the end of any of the games I’ve watched. But I hoped that the New England Patriots and their fearless leader Tom Brady would finally get me into being interested in America’s number one entertainment on Super Bowl Sunday.
Someone told me about the Patriots being the most hated football team in the whole universe. From where I stand, it always seemed to me like there is no other option than being a Pats fan. That being said, I’ve never been a patriot myself in my entire life, not for my native country, not for any other country I lived in. I am the exact opposite of a patriot, to say the least. But I had to ‘’assimilate’’ myself to be a part of the community. Because what is better than contradicting oneself from time to time? Isn’t that what makes us look so stupid and enigmatic at the same time? But unfortunately, that didn’t apply to me.
As a result of a series of events, I found myself in the middle of approximately 50 angry Pats fans, drinking beer, minding my own business — which was everything but watching the game. My only concern was to pick the best possible beer for my enjoyment, and, of course, observe people’s reactions to the game. Suddenly I saw three or four green shapes at the other side of the bar. They looked like a condensed can of food, like their whole existence depended on staying close to one another. They were standing shoulder to shoulder. As the game went on, and things started to look bad for the Patriots, they became an open target. People started booing them. Throwing stuff at them. Cursing them. Bullying them. At one point, it became unbearable for me to stand this nonsense and I decided to interfere.
It wasn’t going to be my first time making everything more complicated than it already was. I told everybody to shut up and accept the fact that the Patriots suck hard this time. They knew they were going to lose. I wasn’t paying attention to anything that was happening on the field. Because even if I did, it would still be a pointless effort due to my ignorance about American football. Their anger was contradicting their habit of winning. They were confused. A team like the Eagles, who had never won a Super Bowl, were about to end the mighty Patriots’ reign. It wouldn’t be so painful maybe if they’d lost against, say, the Steelers or Cowboys. But total losers like the Eagles? No sir.
I absorbed most of the hate and people started booing me. Their attention, focus, and eyes were on me. For the first time in my life, I was passionately defending something besides ‘’football is not football, soccer is the real football’’ and ‘’Kenny Rogers is the best thing that has happened in this country’’. There I was, standing in the middle of the bar like a true Eagles fan. Three or four green shapes were looking at me thankfully. I was asked to leave by the waitress. I refused. I was told that I wasn’t going to get any more drinks. I said okay. This, too, wasn’t the first time this had happened.
Then, as expected, the Eagles won. I’ve made my choice. I was an Eagles fan. Their green-ish jerseys, the way they ran around, how they crossed some lines successfully, they all started to make sense all of a sudden. Apart from being drunk, I stood up against oppression and injustice like Spartacus. Pats, on the other hand, lost a potential fan, who was very close to being so, because of some people’s irresponsible behavior. At the end of the day, isn’t everything about who will attract more customers?