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Sunday night the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks battled for the pride of their fans in Seattle, Pittsburgh, and cities throughout the United States. But pride was at stake here in Israel, too.
Leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl XL, a showdown between the Seahawks and the Steelers, The Jerusalem Post contacted a number of dedicated sports enthusiasts in Israel who disclosed both their financial and emotional investments in the outcome of the game.
From Super Bowl parties at home, to watching the game at local bars, cellphone bills are sure to skyrocket, as football devotees call friends and family back in America, to share in the triumph or failure of their favorite team.
Ted Rose, a Pittsburgh native, has an annual Super Bowl party at his house. Anywhere between 15 to 20 people come over to watch the game on his bigscreen projector from the comfort of mattresses Rose sets out on the floor.
Rose described Super Bowl XL as a "huge thing, unbelievable." Undaunted by the game's late kickoff, Rose stated, "Its once a year, you can go without sleep."
Zach Grashin, 18, from Seattle and in Israel studying at a yeshiva, started the Super Bowl early - "I've been wearing my Shaun Alexander jersey all day to build pride," he said. Grashin was set to join about 10 people from different programs to get together and watch, with plans to "stay up all night, and probably bet and what-not."
Mike's Place, one of Israel's most popular bars among North American residents and tourists, was preparing for its annual Super Bowl parties at both its Tel Aviv and Jerusalem locations.
Describing their Super Bowl party as, "as crazy as it gets," Mike's Place coowner "Downtown" Dave explained, "We have quite a big group that comes every week [for NFL games]," anticipating an even larger crowd for the championship.
Appealing to American traditions, Downtown Dave added, "We got deals on wings and pitchers. Just like back home."
Shaina Hirsch, 19, originally from Pittsburgh, has lived in Israel for two years. Excited to watch the game at Mike's Place, Hirsch upped the ante for Seahawks fans: "I went on-line and downloaded all the Steelers fight songs for this year. I've got all the songs memorized, I am ready to make fun of [Seahawks fans] and win!"
Donning her Steelers paraphernalia in preparation for the game, it would be an understatement to describe Hirsch as optimistic. "Absolutely. We're gonna win... its been long enough, its been 11 years since we've been to the Super Bowl."
Aaron Katzman and Steve Krakauer are best friends and Super Bowl XL rivals. Krakauer, a die-hard Steelers fan, described the competitive dynamic between the two friends. "We rip each other, I know right away if a call comes at seven in the morning, it means my team lost," he explained.
With a very expensive dinner riding on the game's outcome, odds are the victor wasn't going to wait long to make a gloating phone call claiming his prize.
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