I took a trip back home last night. No, not literally, but the Corner Sports Bar and Grill — the neighborhood bar where I watched the Green Bay Packers trounce the New Orleans Saints in the NFL season opener — is a about as close as I’ll get to being back in Wisconsin without actually leaving Peru. The place has all the hallmarks of a true blue American sports bar: beer on tap, loads of flat screen tv’s, walls covered in sports team insignia (mostly Florida teams in this case). It even has buffalo wings.
And last night, at least, the Corner had Americans — and lots of them. It seemed every gringo in Lima turned out for the game. At one point, as I high-fived a couple fellow cheeseheads after Aaron Rodgers threw for one of the Pack’s many touchdowns that evening, I actually forgot I was in South America, imagining instead that I was back in my hometown, watching the game with some old friends over a few drinks.
But all the while, there were little differences that brought me back to reality. Instead of discussing the emergence of rookie Randall Cobb as a new threat in the Packer’s already stacked receiving core, I explained the meaning of the first down and other “American football” basics to an English friend who had come along to watch. Instead of emerging from the bar into the mild breeze and rustling leaves of early autumn, I walked out into the cold damp of the lingering Lima winter (a friend has a nice post about that feeling here). And though many (especially the Wisconsinites) shared in my enthusiasm, others seemed puzzled as I shouted and jumped up and down like a maniac during the game’s riveting final play.
Wisconsin it was not, but it felt darn close.