Reporters on the Job

Sports and Politics: From the day she arrived in Mexico in June, staff writer Sara Miller Llana noticed how many people were wearing shirts, jackets, and caps of the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers. "I had two theories: Either I'm noticing it more because I'm from Pittsburgh, or it's because the Steelers won the Super Bowl this year.

At the Andrés Manuel López Obrador (the PRD candidate) rally on Sunday, already a sea of yellow (their campaign color), Sara spotted a Steeler pin on the AMLO cap of a woman she was interviewing. "I asked her about it. She didn't know the Steelers won the Super Bowl, but her husband explained, 'People love the Steelers in Mexico. They were so good throughout the '70s, we never forgot it.' "

Mexico's passion for "Fútbol Americano" has not gone unnoticed. Last October, for the first time in its 86-year history, a regular-season game was played outside the United States. "Mexico is the country with the most NFL fans outside of the United States," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Getting There: Travel logistics are often a major part of a correspondent's job. Getting to Lebanon reminded staff writer Scott Peterson of his first visit in 1990. Back then, Scott had to take a ship from Cyprus to the Christian enclave of Junieh, just north of Beirut. Crossing the Green Line dividing east and west Beirut required calls to militias on either side, and agreement of safe passage.

This time, Scott left Amman, Jordan, at 5 a.m. and drove to the Syrian border. A transit visa had been arranged, and the drive continued via Damascus to the far north of Lebanon – and the only road corridor that the UN says the Israelis have said they will not attack.

"I knew I was getting to the right place at the border," says Scott. "Almost all the traffic was going the other way – exiting Lebanon."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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