Every morning when I get going I peruse a large variety of news via Google, Twitter and local, national and international news sites. So this morning, I was excited to see the announcements about the St. Louis Rams playing the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium in London on Oct. 28.
I was immediately taken back to my childhood. I fondly remember our annual celebration of America. It was the mid-1980s, I was a teenager, living in Southern England, with not even an inkling that someday I would move to the home of the A-Team, Bo and Luke Duke and Knight Rider.
But we still had our annual America celebration.
It was usually in late January, and would start around 11pm on Sunday night. My dad would make food, and we’d all gather around the telly, turn on the brand new Channel 4, and watch this newly-discovered sport of American Football. Yes, it was the Super Bowl!
The first year I was exposed to this sport was 1986. And, as I knew absolutely nothing about any of the teams, I became a Chicago Bears fan since they were the champions that year. My Chicago fan-dom lasted until I was living in St. Louis and the Rams arrived.
I still remember William “Refrigerator” Perry hammering opposing players, with Mike Ditka yelling on the sidelines. And it was the start of an annual event for us. In Southern England. In the middle of the night. Such a great memory. Such a great initial connection with this great country.
And now, my St. Louis Rams, are heading to London. Wembley Stadium. Just 34.2 miles from where I watched my first Super Bowl.
And I am excited. For many reasons.
First, I’m looking forward to the next generation of British kids being exposed to a great American sport.
Second, any connection my adopted home town can have with either England (where I grew up) or Scotland (where I was born and my heritage comes from) I will fully support, every time.
Third, the timing could not be better for St. Louis. The entire UK tourist industry and all the UK government establishments are working hard to promote the UK throughout the US in 2012. The bond between our nations has always been strong, and now they are working to make it even stronger. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee takes place this June, followed by the Summer Olympics. And then, the Rams come to town.
It is a great opportunity, when so many groups are working hard to connect the UK and the US even more than ever, for the eyes of the UK to be drawn to St. Louis.
And they should have their eyes drawn here. It’s a great town. It’s a wonderful tourist destination. It’s a great place to build business connections. Who knows, maybe instead of a China hub we could establish a UK hub.
Yes, I am excited. My new home town is about to be highlighted in my old one. More Brits will see what a great place St. Louis is, and hopefully come visit.
So for everyone involved, it’s a win-win. Because St. Louis should be at home in London. And the UK should be at home in St. Louis.