Last Saturday, the BC Eagles lost their first home game of the season against the WFU Demon Deacons. In order to prepare the international freshmen, exchange students, and other newcomers for the overwhelming mediocrity that is BC football, we lost miserably 34-10.
Even though the outcome of the game may have been predictable to us Americans, for many international students, the WFU game was their first (and possibly only) impression of American football and how it plays a role in BC culture.
For many internationals, the most bizarre part about BC football wasn’t even the game itself, but all the events preceding it, namely the tailgating. Alex Huang, an exchange student from China, stated, “It was weird that half the people in the parking lot were adults. I didn’t feel comfortable drinking as much as I wanted to in front of them, and so I was way too sober for the football game.” In many foreign universities, college sports is virtually unheard of, so locals and alums flocking back to BC to celebrate a sports event may seem odd to many internationals.
Angelos Bougas, MCAS ‘21, a freshman from Greece, on the other hand, had a different tailgating experience. Saying that he attended the tailgate with the friends he made at Welcome Week, he was among American students who, unlike him, were much more familiar with football and hyped up the game for him. “Hanging out with American students rather than other international ones normalized the tailgating experience. I just did whatever my friends were doing, went with the flow, and had a great time.” He did say, however, that it was strange, if not mildly amusing, to watch people black out on the streets and no one seemed to care.
Of course, there is also the post-tailgate afterthought that is the actual football game. Sandy Zhan, an exchange student from Hong Kong, said, “American football is literally the most extra sport I’ve ever seen.” Similarly, Alex Huang commented that, “I don’t get why I’m supposed to have fun when we’re losing so badly.”
On the other hand, Christoph Grasel, CSOM ‘21, a freshman from Brazil, stated that, “As an [tennis] athlete myself, I realize that it’s more important to have fun with your friends than to worry about winning or losing.” Amanda Brown, MCAS ‘20, a British-Chinese sophomore from Hong Kong, said that, “I’ve come a long way from my first football game back in freshman year. I remember going to a Brighton tailgate with my hallmates from Keyes South, and it was pretty rough. But having traveled a lot throughout my life, I always knew it was best to simply accept culture as it is. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I found that after letting go of my perceptions of football and the strangeness of tailgating, I was able to have a lot more fun.”
Tomorrow will be the day of the long-awaited "holy-war" against the ND Fighting Irish, as well as many international newcomers’ second football experience. Despite many bizarre first impressions of BC football, international students will, once again, flock to Alumni Stadium to watch us probably lose, because, as Alex Huang says, “I didn’t come to America to do the same thing as I did in my native country. I came here to have fun.”