Guyanese show appreciation for traditional American sport

Dear Editor,
Guyanese Americans showed their appreciation for the annual Super Bowl on Sunday evening by tuning in to the game that was carried live on television. It is the custom to host parties and invite friends, neighbours, and relatives to watch the game and have a fun time. Guyanese hosted Super Bowl parties as mainstream Americans did. Because of COVID-19, invited guests were restricted.
Viewers all over the world usually watch the game that probably has the largest audience and viewership of any American sport. More and more people globally are into the sport that is similar to soccer but played differently. Cricket has no money in America. Guyanese Americans are urged to indulge in American sports which tend to have a huge payday.
The game historically has the largest TV and live audience in the US, if not globally. This year, because of COVID-19, the audience was restricted to just around five thousand, mostly health workers who received gratis tickets chosen from among raffled names. Normally, attendance was some 70K in a giant size stadium. COVID-19 has really disrupted lives and taken a toll on revenues.
Very few Guyanese play or watch American football. Virtually every American is into the game. It is talked about on all TV and radio programmes and print media. Students and colleagues talk about it. So Guyanese adults and youth show interests because of their colleagues or peers and because it is part of the American culture. Football is to America what cricket is to England or Guyana. Once you live in America, you become acculturated into it — part of American cultural diffusion to immigrant communities.
The Super Bowl is usually on the first Sunday of February. It is the final of the annual American football league. The season begins around September and ends in January with playoffs between the various division leaders. It is a multi-billion dollar business. The rights to the Super Bowl itself is probably hundreds of millions of American dollars. The top teams are in the playoff of each division. The two winners of the playoffs of each division go into the Super Bowl. American football is not the same as soccer or mainstream world football. American football is played mostly with the hands and hardly with the feet. The ball is oval-shaped. The players tackle opponents to prevent them from moving the ball into the “goal post”.
It is the tradition on Super Bowl Sunday for Americans to watch the game with friends and families or at restaurants or bars. But this year, there are restrictions not only for the live audience at the game but also at restaurants and bars. The snow on Sunday did not make it possible to patronise restaurants and bars. Most people watched the game at home. Guyanese did the same.
It is the tradition to snack on assorted chips, dips including guacamole (pear or avocado choka), pizza, cutlets, sandwiches, fried chicken, cookies, cakes, pretzels, hot dog, chilli, salsa, ice cream, and the like. These are washed down with beer or hard drinks and, of course, soft drinks. Guyanese have introduced their pholourie, bara, baiganee, channa, salt saye, black eye, chicken foot, dhal puri and varied curries, pine tarts, black eye cakes, and other traditional delicacies into the snack pool. It is a case of Guyanese inserting their cuisine and snacks into a traditional American rite.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram