Thursday, August 23, 2012

London is Calling. You Have to Accept the Charges.

I haven't been to jolly old England since I made a trek there with my grandmother in 1998. I hear it's fun when you're an adult, and I suppose I'll find out one of these years when I make my return to the British isles, something I got more intrigued by after watching all the Olympic coverage. However, London is not necessarily at the top of my list for my next travel destination. Now, I've got other wild and exciting things planned like a trip to Kansas City next weekend, a jaunt to Chicago in October and a trip to Cincinnati in November. And internationally speaking, let's just say a repeat trip to England isn't the first place I am headed -- ideally that would be Australia.

However, I've got a sneaking suspicion that London is about to louse up my future travel plans regardless, because of this discomforting bit of news that came about earlier this week. I know. I know. "Dave, you're not a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. What do you care if the Jags play a game every season in London?" Well, bizarrely, I did have a mild flirtation with Jaguars fandom back in the mid-to-late 90s when I was 10 years old and they just looked and sounded so effing cool. Going to two AFC Championship Games in five years didn't hurt either. But then Mark Brunnell, Natrone Means and Kennan McCardell gradually left the team, they made an utterly disastrous decision to shuck their potentially classic unis for a mistake in photoshop and, you know, I grew up and focused on the fact that the Giants had always been my one and only.

But see here's the thing. I have made no secret about how I'm trying to see all 122 teams in the four major North American sports leagues play a home game. After all, that is, you know, the point of this blog. And much of this requires understanding of the intricacies of scheduling rotations and the like. According to the NFL's schedule rotation, my Giants are supposed to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fall of 2014. This matters because I have not seen the Jaguars play a home game yet, and this would be the obvious choice over the next few seasons.

I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that London is about to get in the way. Why? Well, the purpose of this game is to make money, and to make money in a foreign country, you need a big name draw. And who is a bigger name draw than the NFL champions who just happen to play in the biggest media market in the world? After all, one glance at all the previous NFL international regular season games shows that almost every season, at least one of the teams is a marquee franchise with a wide fan base or a recent history of success. The Jaguars aren't exactly that, which means they'll have to play someone who is, and considering the lack of marquee teams that should be good in their division in 2014, and that all but one of the games played in London was a cross-conference game, it seems a better than even shot that the Giants will be headed for Wembley Stadium in two falls.

That, uh, kind of sucks.

I suppose I could go see the Giants in London, which would be kind of fun, but it wouldn't knock any stadiums that I need to see off my quest, it would be extremely expensive and given the fact that the last time the Giants played in London, what proceeded was a game that probably set the sport back in London 10 years, I may not want to travel all that way to watch it.

With any hope and luck I may be spared and instead the Jaguars will play, say, the Cowboys, but I am skeptical. If that is the case I may instead have to go for a different option like seeing the Giants visit the Titans in Nashville, even though nearly every game they play against that team somehow springs disaster. I guess I've got to do it sometime. I, of course, will have to come to Jacksonville sometime, too, but unfortunately, that may be another eight years off. Anyone feel like going to Florida with me in 2022?

In the meantime, there is one positive thing that came out of England for me in the past week, and that was the glorious return to the Premier League by my Southampton Saints. Granted, given that it was a 3-2 loss, I suppose it wasn't as glorious as it could have been, but considering the Saints came back from 1-nil down to take a 2-1 lead on the road against the reigning champions of the BPL late in the second half in their first Premier League match in seven years, it's hard not to be optimistic. All that said, of course, Southampton still left the match with a grand total of zero points in the standings, but that's the same amount Manchester United has right now, so it can't be all bad.

Of course, it's a little silly that I got so wrapped up in a frenzy this past Sunday for a team I've never so much as seen play a game in person -- in fact I've only seen them on TV three or four times, though that will increase this season. But it's still exciting to see the Saints make a bold statement in their return to the top flight. And besides, I'll get to see them one of these years. After all, a trip to London may now be in my future.

1 comment:

  1. Another positive development out of London: The English cricket side lost their home series 0-2 for the first time since the '01 Ashes as South Africa comprehensively outclassed them in all areas of the game...to take over as the world's #1 side in the rankings (there is no world cup or championship in test cricket).

    Both losses occurred in "The City Of," so...thanks London!

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