Tag Archive | super-bowl

Super Bowl Commune Style


Moments before the fateful moment

One of my favorite commune “out of it” stories comes from the Super Bowl of 2004.  Since you have likely forgotten, this was the year of the famous “Wardrobe Malfunction” which apparently helped spawn YouTube. I was in Morningstar kitchen and there were a dozen people there.  It was two days after the Super Bowl in question and i said “If i were to say to you Janet Jackson’s left breast, how many of you would know what i was talking about?”  No one could answer (i did not know if it was left or right, but i knew it would not matter). This year, like every year, there is a Super Bowl.  Apparently the teams are quite close  as far as the bookies are concerned.  And supposedly they are some of the best teams in the game.  I dont care that much, but i still hear these things. What i also know from indirect experience is that almost everyone thinks sports needs to be watched live.  When i asked my sports fan friends about re-watching old games, even very exciting or close ones, they are nearly universally dismissive of this idea.  Often saying strange things like they would prefer to watch a terrible live game than a brilliant one which was recorded even very recently.  Often it is explained  to me that i simply dont understand sports if i cant understand why this is true. Perhaps my ignorance is contagious. A whole collection of Oakers are planning on watching the game tomorrow.  They have recorded it (probably without the $4.5 million dollar 30 second ad spots) and are going to show it on the digital projector with a bunch of people watching and pop corn and beer. But wont it spoil the game if they already know who has won?  This is the lovely part, they are not going to know.  Or at least they are going to try not to know, with a voluntary media and internet black out for about 24 hours.  In the mainstream, it would not even make sense to try it.  In the commune context, with a few strategically placed notes and requests to some of our more opinionated members who will have seen the game at the “proper” time this is actually possible.

Turns out you can keep a secret, in some places

Turns out you can keep a secret, in some places

Maybe i will watch the big game tomorrow in a place where time does not matter.

Update:  There was a grand event in Degania (which i missed) with pizza and happy communards, until 3 minutes before the end of the cliffhanger game when the video failed and no one knew how it turned out.  Yikes.

Black Friday in the Arnhem Game Store

Typically, I dont enter commercial establishments on Black Friday. For perhaps a decade now “Buy Nothing Day” has been on what is the largest shopping day in the US – the day after Thanksgiving.

Escape Captivity – Buy Nothing Day – graphics credit Adbusters

But I am not in the US today, and Willow’s half brother Fabian wants to play in the Magic tournament and I want to see this exported cultural phenomenon close up. So we spent most of the day in the game store playing friendly games in the afternoon and the tournament in the evening. Actually Willow and Fabian played in the tournament, I just hung out and observed what was happening – especially the cultural similarities and differences between the US and the Netherlands.

The best card in the current tournament play

Femke came from several towns over to play in game store. She has a Frisian name which means “girl”, she is studying chemistry and hopes to work in a lab. With magenta colored hair, she is playing a vampire deck, has a pagan star necklace and is into other games more than Magic, but this is where the group play is happening, so this is where she comes. When I asked if she if identified as pagan, she said “no, but I like the symbol. I do believe in reincarnation, though”.

While we are playing a friendly game she had her creature attack me, I blocked it and destroyed it until she pulled out an instant and destroyed my creature, her having fooled me into blocking her. She smiled at me and said in perfect English “i am not stupid.” What she did not say, but was clearly implied was “don’t underestimate me.” I played more cautiously the rest of the game, but she and Fabian together still beat the team of Willow and I.

Femke circa 2012

And as is my experience in the US, she is one of the very few women who plays these types of games. Of the 25 players who came to this evenings match she is one of only three women. I might be the only person over 30 in the room. For a fairly complex game, much of the play is in silence. And the room is not quiet. There is laughing, swearing and animated discussion of the rules. While Magic cards are printed in many languages, these dutch players are mostly using cards printed in English.

One of the nicer aspects of this evenings tournament play was how helpful other players are.  After Willow got completely run over by another more experienced player in the first round, another player named Joost asked if he could look at Willows deck and make suggestions.  He explained that while he was not a great player, he had studied the great players decks and had learned a number of things.  He pulled cards otu of Willow’s deck and helped him improve it.  Willow won the next round 2-1, in part because of Joost’s improvements.  This was something of a breakthru for me with Willow, who likes to design decks intuitively and because i can’t consistently beat Willow anymore, he has been unwilling to step away from his intuitive approach for a more analytical one.  Joost helped shift this.

what it looks like playing Magic

One of the interesting cultural differences between the cultures is that in the little Magic subculture that we play in at Twin Oaks and Acorn, the signal for “my turn is over” is to rap on the table (it is often unclear when someones turn is over in Magic). Here in the Netherlands, many players use a open palm up hand gesture at the end of their turn, which I find both less aggressive and more inviting.

In a way this basement game room could be anywhere in the affluent parts of the world, with players matching wits in this complicated, dynamic and evolving fantasy card game.