One of the lasting experiences of my US State Department – Interntaional Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) – was getting a chance to fall in love baseball.
So when the NBA decided to come fly in more than 340 tons of clay from Pennsylvania to London, I had to go and watch two of the oldest rivalries and greatest baseball teams of all time – Yankees vs Red Socks.
The build up was great, and the merchandise had sold out by the second innings of the second day but the games were memorable more for the unbelievable high record scoring, which is not a common feature for harden baseball fans, you can be lucky to see one home in a game.
The London Stadium did us proud. It was the first time a US sport has been played at the stadium and while not having the history soaked atmosphere like their US ball parks elders, the modern facilities helped to get crowds around easily, with plenty of leg room for us taller fans.
The atmosphere was good, but missed the religiously devoted fans, who can shout out the stats and moan at their star players with confidence in the knowledge their knew each batting average by heart.
But one essential thing missing was the food for me. Despite the featuring the footlong nacho treat and £24, two-foot long, 2,000 calorie Boomstick hot dog and our local Brits vendors been trained in the art of hawking, the thing missing from any New York sporting game is the Kosher hot dog!
Amazing experience, let’s make sure when the Cubs visit next year they bring the Kosher hot dogs from Wrigley Stadium!
I enjoyed my first basketball game at Madison Square Gardens tonight. It was end to end entertainment. Great to see the Knicks beat a good Spurs side and always great to enjoy a kosher hot dog from Abigails.
Great to pop into Sarge deli today for a generous sized corned beef and pastrami sandwich and enjoyed my first ice hockey game at Madison Square Gardens. It was fast, furious and exciting. It was a shame the Rangers lost but the kosher hot dogs from Abigails made up for it. Go Rangers Go!
With American cousins who played high school football, it was only a matter of time I went to me first NFL Football game. Having loved cheering on the Irish – what prefect next step to take there than is watching the Viking and the Saints play the first game at the US Bank Stadium? (Incidentally the stadium will host the Super Bowl final next year).
Tail gating is a must, to meet the fans, paint your face and enjoy the build up to the game. Once in the stadium the atmosphere is amazing. The support of the fans is like nothing else you will ever experience. The noise the fans make and the energy in each play, can help the home team and destroy the plays of the opposition.
Of course the food is great, and the US Bank Stadium not only has great leg room for us taller fans but also the ever needed cup holder behind the seat.
Once you go to a game, you will always want to come back, that is why US Football is the the Crown Jewels of all US Sports!
Bringing the luck of the Irish with me, Vikings won their first home game of the season – and I while I cheered their victory – I had to hide my loyalty as a Bears fan – just don’t tell my family back in Chicago.
America past time that has to be experienced is baseball and there no better place to watch your first game then the Wrigley Stadium. You feel the history as you walk in with the fans. Seeing the Cubs hit a home run in their first inning can only be the good luck they will need for the rest of the season.
Baseball is amazing sport, not only because of the test match cricket tactics of the sport but the atmosphere the fans create. Baseball is about bringing your life to the ball park. You will have a die hard fan behind you – shouting out all the plays and abusing any of the players not doing well, the suited fans on your left talking about business while they close their latest deal, the couple going on their first date on your right and the family with their kids sitting in front of you.
Baseball is all about bringing your life to the ball park, enjoying the game, always eating a hot dog – preferably Kosher in my case – and remember life goes on after the last innings!
Updated: well I must have brought the cubs a lot of luck – winning the World Series!