I love sports. Something about it really sucks me in. The competition. The team. The sweat. The emotion. It’s a beautiful thing. But I have been forced to get used to different sports in Sweden. Surprisingly, Stockholm isn’t a mecca of baseball. Or basketball. Or football. The real kind. But that’s ok. Because, while I don’t have the same options, I still have options. Handball. Bandy. Innebandy. Soccer. Hockey. Skiing. Hell, there’s even a decent amount of curling.
And it’s great. All these new sports. It’s really brought to my attention my lack of international sports knowledge though. I don’t know the rules when it comes to bandy. It looks like a cross between soccer and hockey and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the basics. But there’s no way I could explain the nuances of a bandy play as well as I could explain the idea behind the pick and roll. I don’t know the famous handball players. I don’t even know the famous soccer players.
And that became painfully obvious as I was watching TV4 Sport the other day. Because, as any good marketer will tell you, during sports shows you have a very specific target market. And so the ads tend to be sports related. And the sports ad I saw revealed my ignorance.
A commercial came on. For a betting agency. But it focused on soccer. Because in Sweden it seems that soccer and betting go hand in hand. But my soccer knowledge is limited. I know you can have 11 players on the field at one time. And that soccer players are horrible actors and pretend to be hurt all the time. That’s about it. So the man staring back at me telling me he had won numerous championships, named to the all-world team, all sorts of awards meant nothing to me.
Terry was the name on the back of the jersey. No idea. And then it hit me. This wouldn’t have happened to me in the US. I know famous athletes. I know what they have done. I know that if Derek Jeter was staring back at me telling me these things I would recognize him instantly.
But I’m getting better. I’m learning the Swedish stars. I’m figuring out who the important athletes are. And I’m also realizing just how much national pride the Swedes pin to their international athletes. It makes for some good sporting events. Even if it’s not the Super Bowl.