As an American living in Canada, what do you miss the most about life in the United States?
Not a lot, but I mostly miss food:Being a Texan, I miss real, solid Tex-Mex. A steaming plate of cheese enchiladas, fried beans, pork tamales, carne guisada, chile con queso. It simply doesn’t exist here. Canadians have never even heard of most of those foods. Nor the Mexican people here.Even the fast food / Taco Bell style Tex-Mex isn’t very prevalent here anymore. In the states, a quick taco or burrito was always a lazy food option. Here, I have to go pretty far out of my way. Many mall food courts have no Mexican food options at all. What few remain are almost all Cali-Mex Chipotle clones —good on occasion but not all the time. Fast food in Canada is mostly burgers and pizza and an admittedly large variety of Asian food.I miss central and southern Indian food. Maybe it’s different in other cities, but in Vancouver the vast majority of Indian food is Punjabi style, which is definitely really good, but sometimes you’re in the mood for some idli or a dosa or even more of a Mumbai style curry, and those are not near my house. It was one of my favourite things to eat out in Dallas. Less so here.Unsweetened iced tea. I’m not even that crazy about it, but Canadian cold drink choices are all sweet (either pop or diet pop), and the alternatives are hot coffee or hot tea. The only iced tea is that sugary fake Nestea stuff from the soda fountain.There are some online services I’d like to use (Pandora, Hulu, etc) but since they emerged after I moved, it’s dishonest to claim that I “miss” them.But everything else? Better. Culture, people, neighbourhood services, economy, healthcare, racial inclusivity, religious tolerance, LGBT tolerance, general ability for people to get along with each other and cooperate, public transit, festivals and events, air quality, water quality, safety, crime rate, work environment, retirement options, unemployment safety nets….I’m willing to forego a few tacos for all that. I don’t think I would ever move back to the US. Especially in its current state.
What do Europeans think of the NFL protest, kneeling during the anthem as a form of protest?
I would say that the majority of Europeans do not care about it at all. First, American football, as it is known here, is not that popular. Second, most European sporting events do not feature anything like patriotic displays the US is so fond of, and most Europeans - as far as I am aware - think it a peculiarity of the US that they have to feature them in internal games where it is a local team and not the national team that is playing (anthems are played only for national games). Likewise, while a specific event may be commemorated at that time, i.e. a minute of silence after a tragic incident, regular salutes honoring the armed forces are practically unheard of. It is just not “the done thing” . But the US does its own thing, the opinion goes, and they are big on public displays. For most Europeans, I think the entire issue would be dismissed as “an American thing”.What blew this overboard in the US, as far as I can tell, is that the players were accused of being unpatriotic and disrespecting the troops, which sparked a big debate; this connection would be a lot harder to make in Europe. On the other hand, in Europe the anthem is played during a national game. This is the first point where the situation would be fundamentally different - Kaepernick did not make such a gesture in a national game, where he represented the entire USA, but in a club game, where in Europe there would be no national flag or anthem to begin with.If it were a national game, and the player was kneeling rather than standing, it would be very unusual and cause a lot of controversy, sure. It would be hard to say how much it would be excused, because the protests followed a series of events - deaths seen in the black community seen specifically as police overreach - that would be very rare and very incendiary in Europe. This is the second big point of difference: while racism certainly exists in Europe, police-caused deaths are rare and multiple deaths among a minority would be a huge scandal. For comparison, deaths involving police in France and the UK have caused massive riots in 2005 and 2011 respectively; in comparison, kneeling during the anthem after several minority deaths might be positively benign. While I could expect an argument about “overpaid athletes making political statements” having some weight, moving on to disrespecting the troops would be nearly absurd.
I cant Choose a favorite NFL Team!!!!!?
Fans generally end up being fans of teams that are on TV every week in their area while growing up. Those teams tend to be covered by the local sports media so you get to know a lot about the players and coaches. Many fans pick the same team of whom their families are already fans. That happens for both NFL teams and college teams. Sometimes you might like a particular player or even a coach and become a fan of his team. I became a fan of Mean Joe Green and Earl Campbell when they were in college and later their NFL teams, the Steelers and the Oilers. There is a saying that you don't pick a favorite team, the team picks you. That comes from watching games and reading about the teams. Just relax, watch football, eat pizza, drink beer (if you're old enough), and enjoy the games. You'll find yourself favoring one team or another.
Why is football so important to American culture?
It's just a part of our past time much like soccer is to many European/Spanish countries and other things. It unites people of different race, creeds, and backgrounds, to join together to support a cause that gives people hope and joy and if their team sucks, something to argue about. Football is just great, it is such a spectacle that in so many ways, it becomes elevated above being a sport in itself.