32 Fans, 32 Countries is a look at the global reaches of the NFL. For this project we have attempted to interview 32 different fans of all 32 teams in 32 different countries (UK, Canada, and Mexico excluded). As readers will find, the paths to fandom are as varied as the cultures and customs of each country. Next up: A Cowboys fan in Finland
Tuomas K, a Dallas Cowboys fan from Finland, is awfully mysterious. In an email exchange he would not reveal his full name, his age or his current location. Most of what we know about Mr. K (as I’ll now call him) is that he from Finland, currently lives in Finland and spends a lot of time on the Cowboyszone.com message boards, which is where I found him. Mr. K is not a secretive guy by design; he happens to be a member of the Finnish Army and believes the less information out there about him, the better. But like most ardent football fans, Mr. K cannot keep his Cowboys fandom closeted.
Our digital conversation:
Melissa Jacobs: When did you start watching and learning about football?
Mr. K: This is a difficult question. About five or six years ago I became interested in Madden NFL video games. I noticed that the game looks interesting so I decided to buy it. That’s where it started and I don`t regret it.
MJ: What was it about the game that drew you in?
Mr. K: It was really when I first started watching football so I would just look at random matches and take in the excitement. It was different from anything I had seen. At that time, I was still not a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
MJ: How did you choose the Cowboys, in particular?
Mr. K: About five years ago, Finnish television began to show the “4th and Long TV” series. I liked the series a lot and after this I got interested in the Cowboys specifically. It was such an inventive way to fill a roster spot.
MJ: How do you watch games now? Are there any challenges, especially since you’re in the army?
Mr. K: I’m trying to watch all the Cowboys games. It’s challenging because the matches are in Finland during the night. In the army I can`t watch games during the night.
MJ: Do you have any other friends or family members who are also into the Cowboys? If not, have you found a community of NFL fans?
Mr. K: My family doesn’t follow football. In Finland, we have a couple of good football sites: www.gridiron.fi focuses on the Finnish football and www.2minuutinvaroitus.com (2 minute-warning) focuses on the NFL. I am also writing for the www.cowboyszone.com site.
MJ: How does American football rank among other sports in Finland? What can it do to improve its standing?
Mr. K: In Finland, American football is not very popular. Finland’s highest American football series is a “maple league.” American football should definitely appear more in the Finnish media. It is the key to development and very much lacking in these parts. The Super Bowl is, however, a very present event every year.
MJ: What’s your outlook for the upcoming season? How will the Cowboys finish?
Mr. K: The Cowboys team is very good and talented. I believe that a 10-6 record is entirely possible. It can be even better. And, of course, we will win the Super Bowl!