Rodeo, hockey, American football… the topic of Episode 12 is sports. We definitely aren’t sport experts, but we sure had fun talking about sports in the US and Chile. We hope you’ll have fun listening! Tell us in the comments section - what’s your favorite sport? Why?

Download the Episode 12 transcript here!

Listen to Episode 12 of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and Soundcloud.


Paige: You’re listening to Coffee with Gringos, I’m Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Welcome back. Remember, as you’re listening, like always, if you’re confused or if you’re having a hard time understanding what in the world we’re saying, be sure to check out the transcript and the vocabulary guide for this episode. Okay Paige, did you know that the most practiced sport in rural areas of Chile is rodeo?

Paige: What?!

Mariah: Yeah. Think horses, think cows. That is the most practiced sport in the countryside.

Paige: No, I would have absolutely 100% put my life savings (which is a lot of money) on football.

Mariah: Football, as in soccer for us, but of course we would say football here. I was shocked when I heard that too, but it’s true! And I went to a rodeo a while back, and it was a really cool experience. I didn’t realize what a big part of the culture that sport was here.

Paige: Huh, no, I really would never have thought that. I mean, rodeo for us in the US is definitely a Southern culture.

Mariah: Or Western!

Paige: So, it more exists in that kind of demographic. But up North and on the East Coast, like us, people don’t participate or go watch.

Mariah: Not at all. But it was cool to see it here! It was a really neat experience. But, when you think popular sports, that’s not the first one that usually comes to mind.

Paige: Was soccer or football next?

Mariah: Yeah, I would have guessed football. Yeah, let’s get that out of the way right away. So, we say soccer because in the United States, unlike the entire rest of the world, we somehow think that that’s the right way to say football. But, for the purpose of this episode, we’ll say football because that’s what we say here in Chile.

Paige: Well, now that that’s out of the way, I went to my first football game probably the second week that I arrived here in Chile. In the US, football is not that popular. The games are not well-attended. People do not put them on their calendar to go watch them on TV. Here, people revolve their lives around the soccer schedule (football schedule).

Mariah: Or at least some people, yeah.

Paige: And the stadium was amazing. I mean the passion, there were flags. People painted their faces. There were drums, illegal (probably) fireworks that were being rocketed into the sky. I mean, I think the entire game, it was never quiet.

Mariah: Yeah, I went and saw Colo Colo play here, and that was a really cool experience. I think that the part that was most startling to me was that there was one part of the stadium where the away team and the home team were right next to each other, right? There was just a tiny section of the stadium for the fans of the away team, and right next to them, there were of course fans for Colo Colo. And there were police officers standing in between the sections, and there was actually a barricade to block off the sections from each other. Anytime somebody scored or even got close to scoring, the fans from the away team and the fans from the home team would run to the barricade and pound on the wall and try to kick each other underneath it. I had never seen anything like that before!

Paige: I think that’s the main reason why you’re not allowed to drink at any of the stadiums, which in the US, any sporting event is solely revolved around alcohol.

Mariah: Not solely revolved around alcohol!

Paige: That’s an exaggeration, but when you think of going to a baseball game or American football game or anything, it’s getting a beer. It’s having the food, having a nice drink at the event. And here, when I did find out that there was no drinking… it was kind of like…

Mariah: But how can it be a sporting event without that?! Yeah, I remember when I went to the football game here, they were like: “Would you like a beer?” And, I was like, “Yeah, I’d like a beer, that sounds great!” I can have a beer, watch football. And they handed me an alcohol-free beer, and I was like, “That is unexpected!” But it was still good.

Paige: But no, after going to the games, seeing the passion, and seeing all the riot police, I was like, maybe, maybe they don’t need to drink. They have enough energy and adrenaline from the pride of the game.

Mariah: Maybe it’s best that nobody in the stadium is totally wasted.

Paige: So, football is definitely popular here, but in the US, American football is the most popular sport in our country. And the season is actually starting very soon! It’s starting this weekend, and everyone in the US probably revolves their Sunday around this sport.

Mariah: It’s definitely popular, that’s for sure. I’m not a fan of American football. My Sundays do not revolve around it, but I know that for a lot of people, it’s a huge deal. And I think that growing up as a kid in the United States, it’s like, “Who’s your team?!” Y’know? Who’s your team? Who do you support? Usually, I think it’s because it’s one of those things in the US where your state pride is really distinct with American football. Like, are you a Minnesota Vikings van? Are you a Wisconsin Green Bay Packers fan? Are you a New England Patriots fan?

Paige: Woo!

Mariah: Apparently, that’s what Paige is. It’s a chance for us to kind of like show that state pride. Not for me. But for lots of other people!

Paige: Yeah, no, it’s definitely a sport that is so unique. It’s funny when I tell my students about it, it’s very hard to explain what American football is because here there isn’t anything remotely similar to that sport. In the US, during the game, there are just so many rules.

Mariah: Yeah, it is a complicated sport, that’s for sure.

Paige: And it’s very different than football here too because it’s such a commercialized sport where if you watch a game, it’s probably a three or four event because half, if not three fourths of the game is commercials. And very little play time.

Mariah: Yeah, totally, for sure.

Paige: I have noticed that basketball is very popular here in the sense that I constantly am seeing US basketball gear everywhere. I see everyone wearing Lakers hats, Golden State hats, even Celtic hats. There are definitely a lot of basketball fans here in Chile, even though the sport itself isn’t paid too much professionally, yet the parks are pretty filled. But professionally, not a lot of basketball players.

Mariah: Yeah, but it seems like people really like playing it for fun or like watching it, like you said, which I think is really cool.

Paige: Hockey, they don’t have, which you have to talk about. Hockey is very popular in Minnesota.

Mariah: Yeah, Minnesota is called the state of hockey, and ice skating is really, really common. I started ice skating when I was two years old, and so, I’ve been ice skating almost my entire life, but I’m not a hockey player. But a lot of my friends played hockey, and Minnesota, because it’s cold for six months of the year, and we have ice for six months of the year, it’s a great state for hockey. And so, in college, that was where, in terms of spectator sports, I spent the most time watching hockey games. I didn’t go to the American football games. I didn’t really go to any other sports, but it was really fun to go and watch hockey.

Paige: And hockey would be kind of hard to be played here in Santiago.

Mariah: Yeah, yeah, uh, we would need more nice.

Paige: A little bit of colder weather.

Mariah: Colder weather would be necessary.

Paige: Who was your team in Minnesota?

Mariah: The Minnesota Wild. That’s the hockey team.

Paige: The Bruins are my team in Boston, and they’re relatively pretty good, but hockey never became that popular for me. It was mostly baseball. Which baseball, I love the most because it’s a people sport. You can go to a baseball game. The Boston Red Sox, one of the best teams by far, they’re actually winning the league right now, and you can go to a game for six bucks. You can get a standing-only ticket and watch the game, and the seat is just as good as any seat in the stadium. And that’s why I love baseball, where you can go to the games, and it’s not breaking the bank. Where, for American football, if I wanted to go to Patriots game, it would cost about 200 dollars a ticket, and these seats would be high up I would need like binoculars to even see where the ball is, whereas with baseball, you can realistically bring your family to a game and have a great day and still pay your bills.

Mariah: Right, right. It’s more of an affordable professional sports experience.

Paige: I will say it is because they have like almost 200 games a season for baseball, whereas for American football, they have way fewer games, so the price goes up. But, it’s just the beauty of the game that you can actually see it live, which is such a good experience.

Mariah: In the past, I wasn’t really a baseball fan, not at all. I thought it was kind of boring. I didn’t really understand it. But then, I lived in Chicago when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in like 150 years, or something like that. And I absolutely was a bandwagon fan. I have no shame. I suddenly was a Cubs fan. I watched the games after work, I went to the bar with my coworkers to watch on weekends. It became this thing where every single day, I was doing something related to the Chicago Cubs, it was really funny how that happened so quickly. Yeah, I jumped on the bandwagon really fast.

Paige: I mean, in that city, they live for baseball.

Mariah: Right! They have two professional teams.

Paige: I mean Wrigley is the oldest stadium in the entire country, so there’s so much pride and history there. It’s kind of hard to live in Chicago and not be a baseball fan.

Mariah: Right, and then on the South side of the city, they have the White Sox. So, it was such a fun time to be in the city. And I think that that’s one thing that’s special about sports is that whether you’re in Santiago, Chile, Minneapolis, Minnesota, or Boston, sports bring us together. It’s an excuse to socialize, and it’s something that we can share. And when the Chilean national soccer team is winning, everybody can share that. When the Minnesota Wild hockey team is winning, everybody can share that. And we can share that when we’re losing too, y’know?

Paige: Yeah, so, what’s so great is that even though we’re both abroad, my team is playing on Sunday, and I get to go to a bar in Chile and actually cheer them on!

Mariah: Will the bar actually be playing the game?

Paige: Yeah! There are a lot of expat bars in the city that play NFL games.

Mariah: Nice! That’s awesome. Well, enjoy! I wish them luck.

Paige: Go Pats!

Mariah: Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.


Rural (adjective) - countryside, areas outside of the city

Example: Did you know that the most practiced sport in rural areas of Chile is rodeo?

Put money on (idiom) - to express confidence in something, to bet with certainty

Example: I would have put my money on football being the most popular sport in all parts of Chile!

Demographic (noun) - a particular section of a population

Example: Rodeo is popular with the demographic in the West and South of the United States.

Get (something) out of the way. (phrase) - to complete something

Example: In the United States, we say soccer. In Chile, they say football. Now that we’ve got that explanation out of the way, we can continue our conversation!

Well-attended (adjective) - used to describe an event that many people go to

Example: Soccer games in the US are not very well-attended.

Fireworks (noun) - fuegos artificiales

Example: People were setting off illegal fireworks at the game.

Startling (adjective) - very surprising

Example: The wild atmosphere at the football game was startling to me!

Barricade (noun) - a barrier to block or defend

Example: There was actually a barricade to separate the home team fans and the away team fans.

Pound (verb) - to hit with force repetitively

Example: Anytime somebody scored or even got close to scoring, the fans from the away team and the fans from the home team would run to the barricade and pound on the wall and try to kick each other underneath it.

Alcohol-free (adjective) - without alcohol

Example: They sell alcohol-free beer at football games in Chile.

Wasted (adjective/slang) - completely drunk

Example: It’s probably best that fans at games aren’t totally wasted!

Revolve around (phrasal verb) - centered on one main subject or interest

Example: People’s Sundays revolve around American football in the United States.

Affordable (adjective) - financially accessible

Example: Baseball is a more affordable spectator sport for families.

To jump on the bandwagon (idiom) - to join an activity that is very popular or successful

Example: I jumped on the bandwagon when the Chicago Cubs baseball team was competing in the World Series.

Bandwagon fan (noun) - a bandwagon fan begins supporting a team when they’re very successful

Example: I was such a bandwagon Cubs fan!

Expat (slang) - short for expatriot, a person who lives outside of their native country

Example: Paige is going to go watch the Patriots game at an expat bar.

Download the Episode 12 transcript here!