So it's a footie match, is it?

Wanye
November 24 2009 01:29PM

Before we left on our trip, our sole European Friend — a Brit — advised us: "Wanye, if you're going to go to Europe you HAVE to try to hit up a soccer game. Only don't call it soccer, call it football. Or footie works even better. Calling it soccer there is like calling it Ice Hockey over here. Don't embarrass yourself for heaven's sakes." 

With this sound advice ringing in our ears, we threw caution to the wind and headed off to the footie match — Real Madrid v FC Racing.

As the subway neared the game more and more fans started piling on wearing their Real Madrid scarves, hats, jerseys and the like just like taking the beloved LRT at home. The fans were quite calm as apparently Real Madrid plays in 157 leagues simultaneously and this game wasn't against anyone crazy. A Real Madrid victory was expected by anyone who knew anything, or so we gathered watching the numerous pre-game shows in the local bar the night before. 

We got out of the subway station near the stadium and it looked as though we had stepped into a major offensive campaign by the Spanish Army. If there was one police officer there was 8 gazillion, with paddy wagons lined up on all 4 sides of the building in case anyone wanted to step up to the plate and get sassy.

The stadium - the largest in Europe we were told - is designed to keep everyone outside as long as possible, presumably to give the cops the largest clubbing and tear gassing zone possible without damaging the building. We now realize the convenience of entering RX1 from any entrance and being able to wander freely until you find the right section.

Here we had to wander blindly around the outside of the building trying our ticket in every automated turnstile only to be rejected time after time, much to the rage of everyone lined up behind us as we had to turn around and head back down the 5 flights of stairs back down to the street. 

In Madrid they call the sections vomitorios - you read that right - and they keep them a state secret to confuse out-of-city fans who are dare take a ticket from a deserving Real Madrid fan.

Eventually we found our vomitorio and sat down to an unbelievable site of 120,000 of our closest amigos watching what turned out to be a great game. And we sat right close to the action, assuming you define "close" as "a low suborbital plane."

Game play is a tough thing to follow though we could actually see quite well despite the fact we could stand up and slap the International Space Station as it flew by. As much as we cringe when an NHL referee turns on his mike to announce a call, or Mark Sholtz comes on screen to "entertain" the faithful during a stoppage in play, we now see that it keeps the casual fan engaged and quasi informed as to what exactly in hell is going on during the game. Here there are no announcers and the scoreboard helpfully shows only the two team logos, the score and the time remaining in the half. This left us looking around confusedly as a pair of goals were called back, penalties were assigned for various phantom injuries and crazy plays went un-replayed after the fact.

This didn't seem to bother any of the other 12 million fans at the game much less the man sitting next to us. This dude must not have heard that the game was a lock as he nervously watched the first 5 minutes of play before whipping out a pouch of tobacco, rolling a cigarette and lighting it aflame to sooth his tattered nerves. We looked around aghast, expecting one of the billion cops within the surrounding block to run over and taser this guy within an inch of his life, but it only seemed to serve as inspiration to the fans around us who followed suit. As the game wore on it looked like a Snoop Dogg concert there was so much smoke in the air, except here we didn't get a hankering for Doritos or find anything to be hilariously funny.

As the game wore on Real Madrid scored a goal much to the delight of the hometown fans. They stood, they tooted the awesome little plastic horns everyone seemed to have on them and victory cigarettes were lit as far as the eye could see. Oh and you know what else they do in between tugs on rich Spanish tobacco? 

They sing. 

Yep, it seems everyone has a song they sing at all points during the game. Defense - there's a song for that. Offense? A song. Player subbing in — song. 11:42 on the clock? Song. Oh and they dance too to keep time for the singing. We are out sung and danced at hockey games, Nation. Outside of the national anthems and the occasional accompaniment of Cotton Eyed Joe we can't remember ever singing or dancing at Rexall Place. We don't know when hockey fans decided to turn down "no singing or dancing lane" but we can't help but think we would be a tremendous singing/dancing threat on several dozen hockey beers.

As the game rolled on into the second half we noticed a group of hilariously intense fans sitting behind the far net. Ringed by security guards we initially mistook these folk for fans of FC Racing. But as the game wore on it became clear they weren't. Though they didn't sit down the entire game, we couldn't tell who they were cheering for exactly. Real Madrid wears black and white, FC Racing red and green. These mystery fans were clad in purple and sang mystery songs, danced mystery dances and smoked mysterious cigarettes all out of sync with the other fans at the game. And with a minute left  they whipped out all these huge flags and banners on cue and stood there as if to say "What are we doing here? Why are we so excited? You'll never know Wanye."

Not able to ask the fans around us who they were, we were left to watch these super fans chant, dance and sing their way to a 1-0 Real Madrid victory. As they were safely led away by their security detail we couldn't help but wonder if there was a secret game within a game that they were there to observe or if they were in fact representatives of the Spanish Tobacco companies overjoyed to witness the lung carnage within the arena.

Either way a good evening was had by all:

Real Madrid 1
FC Racing 0

Mystery Fans 1
Wanye 0

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#1 BUCK75
November 24 2009, 01:42PM
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I would LOVE to go to a real futbol game.

The closest I have ever gotten to soccer fever was being in Greece during the Euro 04 cinderella story. That was an experience.

120000 ppl would be a sight too! How they get people in & out of the stadium must be a work of art. If Edmonton Civil engineers would ever go to a soccer stadium in Europe, I bet people wouldn't have to freeze their bags off in -40 waiting for the LRT after the oilers lose 9-1.

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#2 blu
November 24 2009, 02:05PM
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The singing and dancing thing. I would love hockey games to be like that. There may be some connection to that and say, entering the militarized zone.

While RX1 sells out more often than not, there is a big difference between a critical mass of 120k and 18k.

Our population burns our sports cheering AND our hopes of real mass transit.

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#3 jeanshorts
November 24 2009, 02:06PM
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This acquaintance of mine is in Switzerland right now and she checked out some semi-pro or tier II or some kind of mediocre Swiss hockey, and apparently the fans there chant all game too. I guess North American's don't quite know how to do sports spectating as well as our Euro counterparts. You think if the fans started singing their own songs the arena's wouldn't be forced to play so much Nickleback? THINK ABOUT IT!

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#4 The Towel Boy
November 24 2009, 02:06PM
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That'd be a sweet stadium to hold a Heritage Classic.

The mystery fans you saw are probably a group of hooligans. Segregated in their own section for the safety of everyone. ...or perhaps those are the alternate colours for Real Madrid. Either way it's completely obvious I'm not wearing any pants whatsoever.

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#5 Hemmercules
November 24 2009, 02:07PM
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Great story! I thought you were in a bunker somewhere waiting for the Oil to win 2 games in a row.

Do they serve heroin beers at that place???

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#6 I'm a Scientist!
November 24 2009, 02:08PM
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Siiiiiigh

Might as well be the first...

~What does this have to do with hockey?~

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#7 B
November 24 2009, 02:09PM
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Ah. Big mistake. FC Barcelona has the largest stadium, Nou Camp - somewhere around 96,000 i believe. Not a mistake you want to make though, since Barcelona and Madrid hate each other like the Oilers and the Flames, though its like a 100 year old rivalry.

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#8 Chaz
November 24 2009, 02:10PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

This acquaintance of mine is in Switzerland right now and she checked out some semi-pro or tier II or some kind of mediocre Swiss hockey, and apparently the fans there chant all game too. I guess North American's don't quite know how to do sports spectating as well as our Euro counterparts. You think if the fans started singing their own songs the arena's wouldn't be forced to play so much Nickleback? THINK ABOUT IT!

Yeah, they have chants and songs at Hockey Games in Japan too. After 3-4 heroin beers at Oiler games I often try to get everyone singing The Logdriver Song (Remember the NFB of Canada cartoon?) to no avail. Someday...

You think the Oiler message boards are negative after a loss? I'd love to see a Real Madrid board after they get eliminated from Champions League...

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#9 The Towel Boy
November 24 2009, 02:14PM
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Chaz wrote:

Yeah, they have chants and songs at Hockey Games in Japan too. After 3-4 heroin beers at Oiler games I often try to get everyone singing The Logdriver Song (Remember the NFB of Canada cartoon?) to no avail. Someday...

You think the Oiler message boards are negative after a loss? I'd love to see a Real Madrid board after they get eliminated from Champions League...

That's where the logdriver learns to step lightly!

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#10 I'm a Scientist!
November 24 2009, 02:17PM
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@Chaz

You'd think that would catch on... We need it as a 7th inning stretch sort of thing! They could play the video on the big screen! Oh this could be huge! HUGE!

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#11 SirFozz
November 24 2009, 02:20PM
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@ TB

You mean where he goes birling down a-down the white water?

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#12 jeanshorts
November 24 2009, 02:21PM
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@Chaz

I love the Log Drivers Waltz!

*pants disintegrate in a flash of light*

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#13 The Towel Boy
November 24 2009, 02:28PM
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SirFozz wrote:

@ TB

You mean where he goes birling down a-down the white water?

Yes, and he pleases girls completely. *wink wink - nudge nudge*

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#14 Chaz
November 24 2009, 02:28PM
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@jeanshorts

I'm getting married next year and am still trying to convince her to do the nuptials while standing precariously on some floating logs in the middle of a raging river...

If she really loves me, she'll do it....

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#15 Ambassador humantorch
November 24 2009, 02:37PM
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Wanye, if you make it into Holland and don't come and visit me in Amsterdam for some Dutch Green I will take it as a personal insult and will find a way to mail you Flames season tickets every year for the rest of your natural life.

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#16 Motel
November 24 2009, 02:38PM
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The Logdrivers Waltz is a classic. Always used to get Stompin' Tom AKA The Army & Navy Guy AKA Daniel Buxton to throw that one down on a Friday night after too many cheep beers at Rebar/Micky Finn's.

That and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

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#17 Ambassador humantorch
November 24 2009, 02:39PM
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"our sole European Friend — a Brit"

WHOA HEY I MISSED THIS BIT THE FIRST TIME MAYBE I DON'T WANT YOU TO COME VISIT ME AFTER ALL oh who the hell am i kidding of course i do BUT FIRST ROUND'S ON YOU.

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#18 jayoilfan
November 24 2009, 02:39PM
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Didn't Captain Tractor do a version of the Log driver's waltz?

Thanks for the flash back dude! I loved that old cartoon. we don't see NFBC stuff anymore. The good old days, when the Oilers were winners!

Yeah, Euorpean sports cheers are way ahead of NA stuff. To them we're all haughty and stuffy over here. Sitting in our seats and only cheering when there is a goal. Imagine that kind of stuff at a baseball game. I remember being at an old Trappers game where the east and west bleachers would shout back to each other the old miller slogan of taste greats and less filling. One would shout 'tastes great' then the other replies 'less filling'. This would go on several times then some wise drunks yelled back "BullSh!t". Fun stuff!

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#19 Ambassador humantorch
November 24 2009, 02:42PM
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(There's an Ajax Amsterdam match this Sunday... I'm just sayin')

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#20 jeanshorts
November 24 2009, 02:43PM
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@Ambassador humantorch

To be fair though, aren't you a Canadian transplant in Europe?

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#21 Ambassador humantorch
November 24 2009, 02:46PM
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@jeanshorts

It's true. I just wanted to feel indignant for one moment of my life.

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#22 Dyckster
November 24 2009, 03:00PM
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Wanye,

Do they have Pitch Girls (I mean Women, sorry Gregor) at the games?

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#23 Librarian Mike
November 24 2009, 03:11PM
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So Wanye, glad you enjoyed the game. Did you happen to check out any real sports in Europe?

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#24 Dyckster
November 24 2009, 03:15PM
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Librarian Mike wrote:

So Wanye, glad you enjoyed the game. Did you happen to check out any real sports in Europe?

~Like Snooker or Darts?~

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#25 DDP
November 24 2009, 03:15PM
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Wayne, great article!

I went to a footie game in England a few years back and when I bought the tickets, they asked if I was a fan of the home team. Of course I said yes and got tickets. I later found out that away fans are cordoned off in there own section and they are let out of the stadium 10 minutes before the home fans to avoid fighting, riots etc...

Europeans take “rivalry” to a new level!!!

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#26 The Towel Boy
November 24 2009, 03:26PM
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Dyckster wrote:

~Like Snooker or Darts?~

Well played.

"One hundred and FOOORRRTYYYY"

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#27 woody
November 24 2009, 03:27PM
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Wanye/JS:

Is Wanye in Europe checking out fashion shows and the new winter line of threads that may be suitable for Nation Gear?

Gots to get me somma 'dat new gear!

New ON Gear for XMAS!!!

Make it happen!

***runs back to bedroom to underline and highlight new OilersNation gear on his xmas wishlist...realizes it's probably not necessary as new ON gear is the only thing on his wish list...***

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#28 Tracie
November 24 2009, 03:52PM
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@ HumanTorch

Ah The Ajax! I have their red and white jersey from way back when! My cousin lives in Amsterdam and wore a jersey to Rotterdam once...It was hot as hell but he kept his jacket completely zippered up so he wouldn't get beat by a Spartans fan! now that's passion! Don't know if there are any bandwagon fans out there!

I will get to Amsterdam one of these days and we'll go to an Ajax game! What an experience that would be!

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#29 Ender
November 24 2009, 04:20PM
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For those who want to reminisce:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ekqsHP9Sck&NR=1

Also a fond memory: The Logger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcnyEmTn_yU

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#30 David S
November 24 2009, 05:23PM
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Did someone say Cotton Eyed Joe?

*spits*

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#31 Yakman
November 24 2009, 05:38PM
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The mystery fans were probably hoping for a low scoring game in some kind of tie breaking formula... ie if Real Madrid had won 2-0 then they would be knocked out of the playoffs or something... when I was in Germany there were a bunch of guys in the bar cheering for that type of scenario... kinda like us cheering for games between Calgary and Vancouver to end in regulation...

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#32 Pajamah
November 24 2009, 08:06PM
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Ender wrote:

For those who want to reminisce:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ekqsHP9Sck&NR=1

Also a fond memory: The Logger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcnyEmTn_yU

*relieving sigh*

Watching that video made me feel like my soul was being caressed sensually.

Time to run me a bubble bath.

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#33 wanye
November 24 2009, 08:18PM
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If I wasn't drunk as a skunk right now I'd wax eloquently about the emergence of the log drivers waltz.

*sits silently*

Note: can Tambo really claim injuries are the problem with this squad?

UGH

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#34 Pinto
November 24 2009, 08:37PM
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@Ender

Wow, I watched both the whole videos. I will never get that time back.....so sad!

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#35 Harlie
November 24 2009, 08:52PM
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great story Wanye, thanks for sharing. Brings back memories for me of my Euro trip's. Good times.

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#36 Clarkenstein
November 24 2009, 09:38PM
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Over there they play "Cotton Eyed Jose".

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#37 BigE57
November 24 2009, 09:51PM
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DDP wrote:

Wayne, great article!

I went to a footie game in England a few years back and when I bought the tickets, they asked if I was a fan of the home team. Of course I said yes and got tickets. I later found out that away fans are cordoned off in there own section and they are let out of the stadium 10 minutes before the home fans to avoid fighting, riots etc...

Europeans take “rivalry” to a new level!!!

Can you imagine if Oiler-Flames brought that much hate to the games. Brawls right in front of the Gretzky statue.

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#38 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 24 2009, 09:57PM
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@BigE57

what hate ?

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#39 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 24 2009, 10:09PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm222M5KId8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_lqMi4ykxg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8eLSpDa_1E

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#40 esa tikkanen
November 24 2009, 10:40PM
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anybody here have any idea how to find faceoff stats for the Springfield Falcons? curious to know Wiseman's career faceoff stats..

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#41 DonovanMD
November 25 2009, 04:02AM
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Great article Wanye, a couple of genuine lol moments, not the usual fake lol's we all type.

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#42 Swede
November 25 2009, 07:15AM
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Question?

Why do you Canadiens/Americans call it football.. when you play it with your hands?

Football.... here in europe it is played with the foot, not the hands.

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#43 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 25 2009, 07:18AM
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@Swede

An acceptable term for rugby is 'rugby football', isn't it? Rugby is also played mostly with your hands.

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#44 homerer
November 25 2009, 08:45AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

An acceptable term for rugby is 'rugby football', isn't it? Rugby is also played mostly with your hands.

I wouldn't call it an acceptable term. Ruggby players would likely laugh at you, unless they are British (I still cant figure those guys out).

I think we should push for calling CFL and NFL gridiron. it is just a better name all around.

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#45 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 25 2009, 09:00AM
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homerer wrote:

I wouldn't call it an acceptable term. Ruggby players would likely laugh at you, unless they are British (I still cant figure those guys out).

I think we should push for calling CFL and NFL gridiron. it is just a better name all around.

All I know is that my rugby uniform in highschool said 'Crusaders RFC' which stood for 'Rugby Football Club'.

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#46 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 25 2009, 09:45AM
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there is no british people.

i believe they are english.

using the word british is like calling football, soccer.

british is a family not a people.

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#47 Ender
November 25 2009, 09:59AM
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HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

there is no british people.

i believe they are english.

using the word british is like calling football, soccer.

british is a family not a people.

If you're going to separate them into four distinct peoples, you can refer to them as English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. To save time when referring to any of the members of the UK (aka Great Britain), you can just say 'British'.

It's a bit like the term 'Scandinavian' which refers to Danes, Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians.

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#48 HansBaurMesserschmittWatson
November 25 2009, 10:02AM
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@Ender

sure, its still wrong.

none of those four people are british, they are; english, scottish, irish and welsh.

its an incorrect term and very ignorantly used.

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#49 Ender
November 25 2009, 10:21AM
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HansBaurMesserschmittWatson wrote:

sure, its still wrong.

none of those four people are british, they are; english, scottish, irish and welsh.

its an incorrect term and very ignorantly used.

It's not incorrect. If a runner from the UK wins at the Olympics and he happens to have been born in Cardiff, he is still referred to as a British athlete, not a Welsh one.

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#50 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 25 2009, 10:23AM
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@HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

Are you the same kind of person that gets offended when a European calls Canadians 'Americans'?

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