The Cure for Winter Anxiety : American Football

This time of year the Swedes walk around in a pretty much constant state of sadness. I get even less eye contact when walking on the street than normal.  The weather talks go from disappointment about the summer weather to anxiety about the coming winter.  It's understandable.  Winters are long and dark and cold here.  If the weather affects your mood, September in Sweden is the long, steep water slide leading into the sea of freezing depression.

I, on the other hand, walk around with a smile of anticipation plastered on my face.  The end of August doesn't signify the last chances to wear summer clothes or go for a swim.  For me it means football is back!  I love the Fall.  The crispness in the air and the leaves turning mean that I will be passionately screaming at my TV on Sunday evenings.  I'll be battling sleep as I try to catch the end of those west coast games.  It's a great time for me.

I can imagine that my chipper attitude in the autumn would annoy the winter-anxious Swedes.  How can I smile?  What is wrong with me?  Well I have the cure, Sweden.  GET INTO FOOTBALL.  Pick a team (preferably the Miami Dolphins) and root for them every week.  Learn about the game and you'll be cured of your anxiety.  You'll walk around with a smile like me when you find out that your team got a stud out of college who just might help you guys make it to the playoffs.  See how I said "you guys"?  Do that, too!  Start talking about your new favorite team like you're a part of the team.  When they win say "We won!"  When they lose "We'll get them next time."  Let that passion build up in you and by the time the season ends (February), the winter will be almost over.  Great plan, right?

I have started a tradition of having a kickoff party to watch the first game.  This is the second year that I've done it and it turned out great.  Bro-in-Law is a fan now and it's great when he's over so he can explain the game in Swedish to those that have questions.  We've seen pretty much every game together over the past two years.  He doesn't look sad about the winter coming.  He has football in his life.  He's actually looking forward to October.  Why, you ask?  Because in October we're going to London to watch the Dolphins play the Jets in the first ever overseas rivalry game!  Yeah.  Winter can't bring us down.

At this year's Kickoff Party I made fried macaroni and cheese balls.  It's one of my better culinary creations. I also made 7-layer dip and sweet and spicy chicken poppers.  Yeah, the food was on point at Casa de Rollins.  There was enough alcohol for everyone and enough passion for Miami to push us to victory.  That's the most important thing.  We won!

It wouldn't be hard to get into it, Swedes.  Usually American sports play in the middle of the night here.  The NFL is different, though.  It's like they are waiting for you!  Most of the games begin here at 7pm.  That's not bad at all, right Sweden?  The second group of games start at about 10:30pm. You're probably up at that time anyway!  Your team may have a Sunday, Monday or Thursday night game.  Those will be in the middle of the night.  There isn't much you can do about that, but take comfort in knowing that the rest of the games are on at a reasonable time.  I have to warn you though, there is a lot of stoppage in the game.  The NFL gets as much money as possible.  Take comfort in knowing that American commercials are 10 times better than Swedish commercials.  You'll be entertained.  Or you can do my technique and drink so much beer that you have to pee very badly by the next commercial break comes.

So think of your favorite US city and pick the closest team to it.  Unless it's the Patriots or Jets.  Don't pick them.  I still want to be your friend.  Watch your new team play and cheer for them to win.  Only one team wins it all, so don't be too sad if your team doesn't win the Super Bowl.  Just follow their moves between seasons and see what improvements they make.  Then after the next summer ends you'll have even more to look forward to.  There will be hope in your life for the success of your football team.  There won't be time to think about the weather.  Life will be so much better!  Until next time...

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