The Chronicle talked with several international students about their thoughts on football, the Carolina Panthers and Sunday night’s game.
Rost Fedyna, originally from Ukraine and a graduate student studying communications at Queens, has a little trouble understanding why exactly football was given that particular name, he said.
In Europe, “Football for us is soccer. And it kind of makes sense because it’s a ball, and we play it with… [our] legs,” Fedyna said. “In American football, you play with your hands mostly, and it’s not a ball; it looks like an egg.”But name choice aside, Fedyna has started to get into football with the help of his American girlfriend, he said.
“She taught me, explained to me all the rules,” Fedyna said. “She’s cheering for the University of Michigan, so first we were looking up the games for… [that] and now we are following up with the Panthers.”
Fedyna will be keeping especially close tabs on how the Carolina Panthers do this weekend, he said.
“You see, it’s very interesting for me to see where it’s going…” Fedyna said with a laugh.
That’s because he has a history of moving to towns on the cusp of sporting victories, he continued.
“When I went to Russia, that city where I was became national champions in soccer,” Fedyna said. “Then, I moved to Texas to San Antonio, and [the San Antonio] Spurs won the NBA [title].”
With Charlotte doing so well this season, “I’m thinking maybe I can be recruited to some other city next time because I kind of have that luck,” Fedyna said.
Othman Aldakheel, an MBA student at Queens from Saudi Arabia, had trouble understanding football at first, like many international students. But unlike many of them, he remedied that by taking part in a study that used football video games played on Xbox and PlayStation consoles to teach international students the rules of the game.
“We did that for two months and eventually we knew some of the rules — not all of it,”Aldakheel said.
The part of the game Aldakheel finds most interesting is the physical contact that occurs in games.“What is fascinating about it is when people crush together, they just break it off, like nothing happened,” Aldakheel said. “If it’s just me, I’d take it personally…”
Aldakheel says he’s been getting excited about the Panthers.
“I’m kind of getting into the spirit,” he said. “You see everybody wearing the jerseys, trying to show their spirits. I find it so amazing…”
Enzo Pazos, a sophomore sports management major at Queens, just recently starting following the Panthers.
Last week, “I went with some friends to a restaurant and we watched the game, and it was actually fun,” Pazos said. “So, I definitely will watch the game on Sunday.”He still has a little bit of trouble understanding the rules of the game, although he knows more than he used to, he said.
“In soccer, the rules are different, in rugby — which it could be most similar sport — still very different,” Pazos said. “So, it’s something new for me…I just need to learn, watch more games and learn.”
He’ll have the opportunity to just that this Sunday, January 24 at 6:40 p.m. on Fox, as the Panthers take on the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.