At Colorado State University’s first football game of the season, 24,571 came to watch the Rams take on Savannah State. At Football 101, a seminar held the morning before Saturday’s game, international students learned why so many are passionate about the sport.
In its sixth year, the program aims to educate international students about a sport which many overseas find confusing. More than 30 participants gathered in the McGraw Auditorium Saturday to learn just what makes this sport so appealing to Americans, and to understand the culture and customs behind one of the United State’s favorite pastimes.
The CSU football team uses the McGraw Auditorium to discuss strategies and hold meetings, so holding the lecture there was fitting.
“Sport is culture,” said Mark Hallett, from the CSU Office of International Relations. “Football is an integral part of the collegiate and American experience.”
Students in the crowd knew about sports such as rugby and soccer, but knew next to nothing about American football. Hala Amro, an Arabic professor at CSU, said she came to America from Jordan to learn about the different culture here. American football, she said, is a big part of the U.S.’s image overseas.
Hala Amro tried on a full set of football gear in front of the other international students so she could understand the weight of the full gear and time it takes to put it on.
“I’ve only seen American football in movies,” Amro said. “This is my first time experiencing this, and it’s awesome.”
Senior Athletic Director Albert Bimper led a lecture on the fundamental rules and customs of the sport. Bimper has had a long history in American football, and was once closely associated with NFL star Peyton Manning.
“Peyton was my quarterback,” Bimper said. “He was the one standing behind my butt, so he knows me better than most people.”
Bimper demonstrated the fundamentals of the game with slides and a ball thrown around the room. He led one student through the process of starting a play by snapping back the ball to the quarterback.
After Bimper’s lecture was over, students were led outside to receive their special t-shirts and student passes for the CSU vs. Savannah State game that night. The international students had the chance to walk on the field and experience the game from the players’ point of view. Fortunately for the students, CSU won their first game of the season by a landslide, CSU 65 to Savannah’s 13.
“This is why I came to America, to learn about American culture,” Amro said. “It was amazing.”
Collegian Reporter Erik Petrovich can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @eapetrovich.