Taking American Football to Europe

I was surprised to see the spread of American football in Poland. This is one game which has not spread rapidly outside of America, however loudly we cheer our ‘world champions’. The European League never really took off. In fact most of the world calls a completely different sport as football!

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Image Credit: J J Hall

There are other games like basketball and rugby which have caught on elsewhere, but our football has found it hard to leave our shores. Perhaps its the expensive gear or it could be the fact that the world already has a sport called football which is very-very-very-very popular across the globe. When good players emerge in the small pockets where American Football is played, the stars move to the center of the ‘football galaxy’ which is America. That works against the development of the sport where the star developed. Like a football-talent-drain problem!

Our football is a true blue American game – most players are either born or groomed here, viewers are American and other viewers outside our borders are generally American expats. The European league was set up to popularize the game. It failed because it did not catch on at the grassroots.

There is an IFAF Federation List which is long and well populated with leagues in 64 countries and they even have a World Cup. Something which really helps in popularizing the game is NFL’s new strategy to play one regular-season game in Britain every year. One thing is for sure, I have read that the Super Bowl parties have increased!

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Gaming Grandma

I saw a strange scene last week. Grandma and grandson were sitting very companionably and playing a computer game – she on her tablet, a gift from her daughter, and my son on his device!

I picked up my poor surprised jaw off the floor and walked into the kitchen. As the door shut, I could hear my mom shout out, “Beat you!” with great gusto. My mom watched a lot of sports (and she could be very vocal about her support), but she had never played a single computer game as far as I knew. She and my son had spent many wonderful hours playing other games at the park and at home.

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Image credit: makelessnoise

Maya, my wife, explained that a few days ago, my mom had asked our son if she could watch him play his computer game. After many instructions and explanations, they seemed to have found a nice rhythm to their play. They started taking turns playing on his device. Once she got comfortable, out came her as-yet-unused tablet. Now, she was playing a multi-player game on her tablet, against her grandson on a different device!

Curious to know what they were playing, I sauntered over and watched. They were playing something called Food Flick, flicking food to people in the stadium. Busy flicking burgers and sodas they answered me in grunts and monosyllables. I interpreted their communication and understood that my football mad mom and son had downloaded the NFL Rush Zone app meant for kids called – Game Day Heroes. What they were playing  was a mini game from the app.

Gaming which is beneficial for Seniors

With the rise of memory loss in the elderly, doctors and researchers have been suggesting games as a good way to keep the brain active so as to slow down the effects of age-related cognitive decline. It’s believed that certain problem-solving skills and strategizing, that is required in gaming, might slow down the effects of aging on the brain.

Interestingly, gaming, which was considered an industry that targeted the youth, now also targets the elderly! For the elderly who have restricted movement, gamification of real life activities (which they can no longer do, like walking a forest trail) will add a new dimension in their lifestyle. The challenges are many as seniors might be hesitant to use digital media. This could be eased if real world experiences are created with easy to use interfaces. Also, they can use digital media to keep in touch socially.  Interestingly, games have been found to be better than anti-depressants for solving depression problems.

Other Grandmas and Gaming

This old commercial actually features a gaming grandma and her grandson on a game which was very popular, but that’s just an old commercial. Here’s a real life gaming grandma on MTV.

Perhaps it was the effect of one of her oldest and dearest friends being diagnosed with dementia. I’m not sure what had got my mom interested in her grandson’s games, but I’m glad she was. Computer games are a great way to bridge the generation gap.

6 Football Games Families Can and Should Play

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Image Credit: Ian Hughes

If raising a brood of couch potatoes is the last thing you want, ditch the T.V. and take up these fun and free football games your family can and should play. You’ll be spending more time together, laughing, playing and exercising without even knowing it!  Are you ready for kickoff?

Football Tossing Contest

NFL season has just started and it’s time to host your own football game. Invite everyone to a friendly contest in your backyard – the person who can toss a ball the farthest is the undisputed football champion. If the weather forces you to host the game indoors, use a soft foam football and toss it into a basket or through a hula hoop. Everyone gets five attempts – the player who makes the target the most times wins. If you’re cooped indoors for any reason, you can also play fun and free football games on your mobile! It’s certainly not the same as stretching your legs outdoors, but it’s more interactive than staring at the TV!

Flag Football

You can play this for fun or competitively. Just divide players into two teams and have everyone place colorful socks from the elastic of their pants or shorts. Unlike a normal game of football, players must tackle offensive opponents by pulling the socks from their waists. The game can be played with a predetermined number of points or with a timer.

Hot Potato Football

Invite everyone to sit in a circle. Designate one player as the “caller” who must close his or her eyes while the others pass around a football a. k. a. hot potato. When the caller calls out “Stop!” whoever holds the football must leave the circle, which is why the players pass along the ball as fast as they can. The game continues until only one player is left. This player is the caller for the next round.

Wacky Football Race

Divide the players into two teams and have team members link their elbows. Hand a football to each team. When the whistle blows, the teams must make their way to the finish line without dropping the ball or unlinking elbows. If they do this, they must go back to the start line and begin the race all over again.

Football Relay

Split the family into two teams and give a football to each team. When the whistle blows, one player from each team must push the football with his feet from the start line to the finish line and pass it on to a waiting team mate. The first team to finish the relay successfully wins the game.

500

Invite everyone into the backyard and have one player stand about 20 feet away from the others, holding the ball. At the word “Go!” the player with the ball throws it towards the others. When it’s up in the air, he must call out a number between 50 and 500. This is the number of points earned by the player who catches the ball. But players lose points if they drop the ball. The first player to score 500 points wins the game.

My family loves playing these free football games so much, every single holiday is NFL season!

First Post (what else could it be from a first time blogger?!)

Here I am writing my first post. I had all these brilliant ideas, but now all I can think of is football. Strange, or perhaps not so strange. It is September. It is football season. I wait for every game I can catch on TV. My conversation with a colleagues starts with “Watched the Game?” and ends with “I’m sure looking forward to the Game.” Not to a ‘football game’, just ‘the Game’.

My mum’s busy buying football paraphernalia for the grand-kids. My dad can’t talk to me over the phone for he’s busy watching a game. A game from last year for some strange reason, mind you. Perhaps its something in the air in Fall. Maybe it’s because Maya(that’s the football mad adult I’m married to) and I went shopping for ‘football food’ for our friends and their families, who are coming over to watch a game at our place. I should stop looking for excuses – I like talking/writing/reading about football.

I’m not sure what it is, but football’s like the flu. It’s mostly seasonal. Also, when it comes, it gets a whole lot of us. There’s one difference though: I’m sure none of us will take a football-shot as easily as we take a flu-shot!

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Image Credit: camknows

What is it with football? Why do we get so involved? Why do we rise out of our seats like one in a surge of joy or worry? How can one player have thousands of fans? Was it always like this? Tell me what you think.

All About Games for Kids

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