Unless you were living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, in the United States on Sunday, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference pitted their best teams of the season against each other in Super Bowl LI (that’s 51 for those that don’t remember their Roman numerals) and this year’s one was pretty special. From the incredible comeback of a team that spent around 3.8 quarters struggling to keep their opponent back, to the legendary Julian Edelman catch that I’m surprised isn’t a GIF yet! Oh, wait…
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— NFL (@NFL) February 6, 2017
So, with this these amazing feats, spectacular half time show and general atmosphere to captivate sports fans the world around, here’s 5 things I learned (and wish I was still at uni to practise as a student) that I’m sure current students can benefit from too.
Sports at College/University Can Catapult Your Career
I’ve never been big on playing sport to be honest. I don’t mind watching it, but I’ll leave it to the skilled types to participate. However, if you are of the athletic mind and body and have thought about taking it to a professional level, then there is no better time than higher education to pursue it. Whether you want to give your existing gym activities such as weight training or rowing a more competitive edge or you feel you’d be happy to step into the shoes Rio Ferdinand has vacated, then find a local team in your town or Athletic Union to try out for (or in the case of no try outs, go along to a practice and see if you suit each other). If the team you seek doesn’t exist, speak to your respective activities or sports co-ordinator to see about starting one. It’s a common fact that in North America, the main channel for players to get into NFL Teams is through the drafts which are scouted from University Teams. It’s not quite the same for all sports, but if you can show your colours in your institution, then there’s always an opportunity for (or to get) a local agent in to watch you at work on match and gala days.
Teamwork Practice Can Be Learned In the Space of a Match
For those that question if the cliché “Teamwork makes the dream work!” really is effective, go watch your next sports match carefully. Unsurprisingly the team sports should include teamwork throughout the game. But with the Super Bowl, there were several examples.
For one, there were the players on the pitch working together to get the ball that crucial 10 yards forward and to get the all important touchdowns or indeed trying to stop all this happening if you were on the opposite team. For another there was the swarm of support staff working behind the scenes to ensure everyone had communication, to operate all the cameras and replay systems, the many TV crews that ensure the game was broadcast across the world and the many standby staff for health and security.
When it came to half time, the most inspiring thing for me was hearing that they had minutes to assemble Lady Gaga’s stage and had to perfectly orchestrate both the pre-filmed part and the actual show to make it appear seamless (huge thanks to Philp DeFranco’s eleventh hour video referencing this and the Intel Technology that powered it!) and all in pitch blackness. After the show, this all had to be dismantled and removed from the pitch as quickly as possible in order to allow for the second half to begin. None of that could be achieved without good clear communication and everyone willing to do their parts as and when needed to – all in the name of good entertainment and sportsmanship.
Now imagine how many other places this teamwork could be practised…
Watching a Different Sport Might Just Interest You In Something New
As I say, historically, I’ve never been a big sports person. I’ll still watch Wimbledon though each year when I can now after giving it a chance and having the rule of tennis explained to me properly. I’ll keep going to the odd Football match now and again. I was sceptical about a sport that resembled rugby though and sounded like it stole our name (turns out in fact it was an offshoot of Association Football as explained here. But after a few Super Bowl viewings and attempting to follow one team’s season this last year it’s grown on me quite a bit and I intend to follow it a bit more next season.
If you’re not sure about a sport you see in the next Olympics or has a tournament coming up, why not give it a chance? You never know what you might learn to appreciate and follow. And if you miss it and it comes back in later life, you’ll forever be wondering “What if?”, so quash it early and see what you may like beyond what’s just popular in your country right now.
Staying up Until Daft o’ Clock Can be Worth It Sometimes
It was around 4am GMT before the BBC finished covering this year’s event and it was quite tiring to get to it. When I first watched the Super Bowl with my friends Luke Hansell and Sam Brown 6 years yesterday, we managed it but I will admit to flagging a bit at the end. Thankfully the second one felt a bit better (though I missed the beginning of it) and this year was tiring again. So if you’re watching sport internationally, make sure you’ve had some kip earlier in the day (or just slept in) and make sure you have some form of caffination available to keep you going through into the earlier hours so you don’t miss the action!