Unexpected sporting connections


I’ve found a sport that the Brits and the Americans both love. Skiing. And we even have the same name for it. Naturally there are some differences in nomenclature. Here, as I understand it, my pants are held up by suspenders.

We’re two days into a 3-day ski trip to West Virginia, and tired muscles are recovering in our overheated condo. This is my first experience of skiing in N America and not Europe, and the Showshoe resort seems great. Speaking to a stranger does not require a preliminary assessment of what their first language might be, and resort staff (and slope users in general!) are considerably more courteous than those in France. It sits at a lower altitude than any resort I’ve been to in the Alps, but there have been shedloads of snow, and all the runs are covered right down to the bottom. Also, despite the lower altitude, it has somehow has been much colder than anything I’ve experienced in the Alps. Two days before we arrived the temperature here was minus 4. Fahrenheit. Today was a comparatively Amazonian 10F. It would appear that this is cold enough to cause beer bottles, left out to chill on the balcony, to explode. This has never happened before to me on previous ski trips. Although that was usually Kronenberg 1664 and this was Corona. Perhaps French beer is more suited to low temperatures than Mexican beer. Hmmm, makes sense.

Anyhow, the result of 5 exploded bottles of Corona (Corona Light, in fact – never shop for beer in a hurry) was a considerable amount of yellow snow. Possibly the only time yellow snow has been worth eating.

I’ve been back in the US for exactly 3 weeks now. My journey and re-entry to the States was pleasantly hassle-free. On the NYC-Nashville leg of my journey I found myself sitting across from a dude with a guitar. This is not an unusual occurrence on a flight to Nashville. He struck up a conversation with me, thus:

“Excuse me sir, are those in-ear-monitors?”

“Yes they are, absolutely.”

“Did you get them in Nashville? I need to get a pair.”

“Oh no, sorry, I actually got them in Edinburgh, Scotland!”

“Oh, wow, ok, that’s a long way.”


(Then after a moment)

“I played rugby in Edinburgh once. When I was 12.”

But of course you did.

“I was at school in England, and we were on tour. It was very cold.”

Yes, that’s the one.

On another trip to the States, a few years back, I was taking a cab with my colleague from the airport into downtown Washington, DC. The cab driver was an enormous black dude. The conversation turned to where we had flown in from.

“Edinburgh, Scotland.”

“Oh.” (Then, after a moment)

“I played cricket in Edinburgh once. In a tournament.”

But of course you did.

“It was pretty cold.”

Yes, yes, that’s the one.. 

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