"Remember the Titans: Respect the "Snowcats"

Mar 2, 2008, 7:22 PM |
My perspective of the American football played yesterday between two Central Asian teams is a bit different from my husband’s, please read my earlier post.  I stood on top of a snowbank at about the 40 yard line among the cute little, Bishkek cheerleaders.  They claimed their team from Kyrgyzstan was undefeated for the past six games.  Yet in yesterday’s game their boys struggled to get the first touchdown after the guys in blue had already scored two.  The Bishkek team looked taller and more like American football players with their padding and smart looking jerseys of maroon and white.  I kept hearing the crowd behind me cheering “Bossy, Bossy!” or something like that.  I asked the AUCA cheerleaders what that meant, their answer “Snowcats” and the Kazakhstan team are called “Titans.” 

“Remember the Titans” because they won yesterday’s game even though they looked shorter and didn’t have the fanciest uniforms like the Bishkek team did. When offense traded places on the field with defense there were several players who had to share pads and jersey, I actually felt sorry for the Titans even though they were winning. I have to admit my loyalties were divided.  I used to teach at the Bishkek school that started out as KAUF 15 years ago and now is known as AUCA (American University in Central Asia).  So, my favorite runner to watch was number 80 on the “Snowcat” team.  He was tall, slim and quick and he would often catch the quarterback’s long passes.  Great passes on both sides, so the QBs get much credit.  The Titans more so because they didn’t even have a coach.  They had asked Ken, my husband, but he had said no, he opted for reffing.

Apparently there was a quarter break which I thought was the half.  The halftime show happened after Steve Green, the HEAD ref called the girls out to do their dance routines.  Keep in mind there was NO scoreboard with no time to show minutes remaining so I kept in my head what the score was.  My contribution to the game, besides watching “our guys” was supplying a notebook that was used by Dr. Bruce Taylor, the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  He had penned in large numerals of 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the downs so the crowd and the other team could see on the opposite side of the field if 10 yards were completed as the teams advanced up and down the field.   

Much to my dismay after having stood on my snowbank at the sidelines with the Snowcat cheerleaders for 1 ½ hours, the game was not over at 4:00, as I thought.  At the game’s half the score was as I had figured 32 to 14, Titans leading.  I kept thinking of my poor husband running up and down the field.  My bigger concern was that he would not be tackled.  For the most part he kept out of harm’s way when tackles were moving in his direction. I noticed that the players were respectful of each other after they tackled each other, no hot tempers flared.  They seemed good sportsmen. Plenty of other injuries happened on both teams where the medic was called out to the field.  Fortunately, my husband, the ref, survived but he will feel sore muscles today, I’m sure.  Finally the game was called at about 5:30 when a Snowcat player was in great pain, it was thought he had broken a bone.  Big OUCH!  The Kazakhstan Titans had their own cheerleaders doing a musical number on the field as the halftime show and then once the game started up again, I had to leave at 4:30.  I estimated that Ken, my dear husband, the long suffering ref, would not be home until 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. 

I had missed seeing an American football game last fall and this would have to be the make up game for me.  In the fall, I love when the air is fresh and snappy, it always conjures up memories of past university football games I attended.  Yesterday’s game was a crisp, cool but a sunny, spring day, perfect for watching an American football game on a soccer field in Central Asia.  The crowd shouting out cheers in Russian and all total there were probably 4-5 Americans in the place among 300 Central Asians.  Only in Kazakhstan, and “Remember the Titans” when they go for their playoffs in May.