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Friday, June 21, 2013

NBA Finals 2013 and Maintaining one's American-ness Abroad

After living abroad for a year and a half (give or take a few months), the one thing that an ex-pat starts to feel is a disconnect with their homeland.

I'm not saying it's an absolute truth, it's just something that I've learned.

There are a few times I will do an overwhelmingly American thing (eat a greasy burger with my hands, drink a beer in public with no shirt on, impose my will on a small country... I kid) just as a reminder to myself that "hey, idiot!  You're an American!"

I say all of that to say that, last night, I stayed up until 6am to watch Game 7 of the NBA Finals (The championship for those of you who don't know).

While I'm not particularly a NBA fan (I have no favorite team and have only been to a half dozen actual, pro games), it felt like something that was important.  It was only the fifth time the title-deciding series had gone to the last game.  Plus, the world's best player (Lebron James) was battling against the player that most embodied stoicism and old-school efficiency (Tim Duncan).

The only hang-up was that the game started at 9:00pm east coast time, which made it 3:00 am Norway time.

That's a lot of lines between the East Coast and Central Europe
To prepare for the evening, I did what any good American would do.  I loaded up on caffeine drinks and alcohol just like the last time I decided to watch an American, sporting event after hours.

The hardest thing isn't the actual staying up (you just don't go to sleep), but the hours preceding the event.  What do you do?  I watched a movie (an ill-fated choice as I watched the incredibly underwhelming Seeking A Friend For the End of the World), I tried to watch that Bill Maher show (but that's sorta hard after he got sonn'd by Wayne Brady)...  Afterwards, I just watched Russell Brand do Russell Brand-y things and Amy Schumer be awkward.

Tangent.  Sorry.  Re-directing.  Re-directing

Anyway, soon, it was game time.  I was double fisting and had my browser tuned to NBA UK and my twitter feed primed in another window.  

The game didn't disappoint.

Both teams battled fiercely, though, not always making for the prettiest basketball, but it was a memorable game.  I was only off by 2 points as the Heat won back-to-back titles.

However, it wasn't just the game that made the whole evening worthwhile.  The lack of sleep and energy drink induced rapid heart rate was vindicated by the feeling I got reading tweets and refreshing my Facebook newsfeed and seeing all my countrymen's comments.  We were all sharing in a collective experience at the same exact time.

We were connected.

The distance between here and where I grew up is a little over 6000 kilometers, but it felt like I transcended it for a few hours in the early, Scandinavian morning.


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