At eleven o'clock at night we had our seats to watch the Super Bowl. My husband and I were at our usual Irish pub for sports, the James Joyce in Madrid, just in time for the start of the pre-game show — on Sky television.
Such are the difficulties of following American sports in Spain. First, this is the Romance Time Zone (because it's the same time zone as Rome), also called UTC+01, and it's 11 p.m. here when it's 4 p.m. in Dallas.
Second, the game came via Sky Sports, British-Irish television. Sky didn't entirely understand American football, and neither did some of its viewers, so the pre-game show included an explanation of why kickers matter. (Hint: field goals.)
Meanwhile, as we had our first pints and munched on patatas bravas, the bar was filling up with American expats and vacationers and quite a few Spaniards. Football is considered one of the most strategically complex sports, which wins fans around the world.
Steelers fans seemed more common judging by tee-shirts, but when the Packers team was introduced before the coin toss, the bar erupted into cheers. Apparently there were a lot of plain-clothed cheese-heads. It was more subdued for the Steelers. In fact, no one cheered for the second-quarter Steelers field goal.
And while the folks back home were being treated to the year's best television commercials, we had to endure repetitive British-Irish fare, though some of it was at least sports-related, such as an ad for the official snack food of the English rugby team (Kellogg's multi-grain bars). We also got to see the half-time show, and some people in the bar sang along.
But Sky TV cut away at odd times during the game. We missed at least one play, a Green Bay kick-off — still, we enjoyed what we saw. The game remained tense.
A little before 2 a.m., a waiter came to tell us the bar would officially close soon, and anyone who went outside to smoke wouldn't get back in. Sometime before 4 a.m., the bar stopped serving drinks. By then the Spanish Packer-backers who were asking me to explain technical details of the game were too drunk to understand anyway.
Finally, of course, the game ended in jubilation, with cheers of victory in English and Spanish, and a very happy Monday morning. Because it was Monday already. Almost time to get up for work.
— Sue Burke