We, like many others around the world, spent last evening with our gazes fixed to a big-screen tv, beers in hand, while rowdy men around us chanted, “GO SAINTS!” Apparently, word had spread that this pub was the place to go to watch the Super Bowl in Galway.  Hundreds of Americans descended upon the small pub, many of them wearing football jerseys supporting their home teams.  American accents abounded.  Everyone was ready for a good game, and the Saints looked to be the crowd favorite.

While the sheer number of people at the pub to cheer on the Colts and/or Saints was surprising, there was one group present that was particularly unexpected: young Irish guys.  We were standing next to a very loud, rambunctious group of them, who were friendly enough, but didn’t seem to know a lot about football.  They asked me, Jon, and our American friend Jada, who we were cheering for.  They seemed to be weighing the options between the two teams very carefully, hoping to choose the winner as their favorite.  Although they reacted appropriately at a couple of big plays, it was clear that they didn’t know American football very well.  Why were they here? I wondered.  All I had to do was look around… large groups of cute, new-to-Ireland, American study abroad girls.  Ah ha.  Question answered.

No Super Bowl is complete without a whole bunch of outrageously expensive, hit-or-miss commercials that make the whole shebang worth watching – true or false?  From my experience last night, I would say that it’s true.  While you all back in the US of A were being treated to Dave, Jay, and Oprah, and controversial (well, maybe) Focus on the Family ads, we were stuck with the same 3 low-budget ads over and over again.  Not having anything interesting to watch during the commercial breaks made me realize just how many commercials there are!  And it definitely made the experience of watching the game a lot less fun.

One last perk to our late night football watching was a chance at a true Irish experience – the lock-in.  Lock-ins, according to my Irish friends, began back in the day when pubs were obligated to close for two hours on Sunday afternoon (I am not sure why they were supposed to be closed at the time – Irish friends, help me out?).  Instead of closing the pub down and forcing customers out, the pub owners would simply shut the windows, lock the doors, and pretend like they were closed, while allowing those inside to keep drinking.  Nobody was allowed in or out until the pub was officially “open” again.  Apparently, lock-ins still happen from time to time, when a pub wants to stay open past its required closing time of midnight.  That was the situation we found ourselves in last night – locked in to the pub!  Luckily, we found someone who was willing to let us out before the game ended.  But from the outside of the pub, you’d have no idea that a couple hundred American kids (and a couple dozen hopeful Irish lads) were inside, cheering the Saints on to victory.

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