Football, 2, 3, 4

“How the World Sees American Football: Foreign Students Throw the Pigskin”

The glee of Maximilian Bushe of Berlin could have been used for a billboard to advertise the clinic. He had run a pass pattern as if he were a wide receiver in the American game. He snatched the ball thrown to him and scored a make-believe touchdown. He was overjoyed, almost breathless as he stood with the ball he held out in front of him with two hands. The Georgia Tech football players—the real ones helping conduct the clinic—made a boisterous scene of cheering around him for his catch.

Then Bushe did what any good American football player would do. He did an end zone celebration, a little dance.

“I am just surprised I caught the football,” he said, smiling wide. “A little bit is OK, right?” he asked about celebrating. No, not really. In the NCAA, what he did would earn a yellow flag and 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration.

. . . . . .

“Back home, they think it’s boring, and that’s totally wrong,” Bushe said. “We don’t know anything about it in Germany. We just see it in the movies—somebody has the ball, and 20 people jump on him and pile up in a big, big tower. Once you get the whole game, it gets really interesting. You watch the game and cheer for your team, and it’s awesome.”

Ray Glier, Aljazeera America, April 25, 2015


A Scholar, a Footballer, and a Tourist Walk into a Foreign Country . . .

Did you hear the one about the Fulbright Scholar in China studying stand-up comedy? The student, Jesse Appell, put together a spoof of Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” called “Laowai Style.” Lao wai is a Mandarin term for foreigner—literally meaning “old” and “outside.” Here’s the video, with subtitles:

And then there’s the former amateur soccer player from Norway, Havard Rugland, who watched the Super Bowl in 2011 and started working on his American-football-kicking skills. The result was a video of amazing trick kicks, called “Kickalicious.” It went viral and caught the attention of some NFL franchises, with a couple giving him tryouts. Last week, the Detroit Lions announced that they had signed him to their team. No joke.

I heard about the two stories above on “PRI’s The World” while I was listening to NPR in my car last Friday afternoon. This last video isn’t related, but it shows some cross-cultural miscommunication, between an English-speaking tourist and a couple French locals—and I think it’s pretty funny. It’s “Do You Speak English?” by BBC’s Big Train comedy team:

(Nina Porzucki, “Humoring the Chinese: An American Comedian Has a Run-in with Chinese Censorship,” PRI’s The World, April 12, 2013; Steven Davy, “Norwegian Kicker Havard Rugland Signs Detroit Lions NFL Deal after YouTube Video Goes Viral,” PRI’s The World, April 12, 2013)

Go Global with Go Daddy . . . but Be Sure to Be First

I’m not a fan of very many Go Daddy commercials. Most aren’t in very good taste. But I was looking at the availability of some domain names at their site today, and I saw an ad that I like. It’s pretty funny, and it’s supposed to air during the Super Bowl.

The commercial is touting registration for .co domains. While .co is the internet country code for Colombia, it’s been open to unrestricted used since 2010.

The ad is aimed at an American audience, but it has a global cast. The internet really has broadened the playing field when it comes to the marketing of ideas, even ones that are “one in a gazillion.”