No hot chicken wings. No nachos. No hair-on-fire chili grace my house this weekend. Super Bowl Sunday has always been a non-starter. I do admit to some cheese, but then there’s ALWAYS cheese. I don’t own one piece of licensed sports apparel and am completely guilt-free. The only yelling at the TV in my house are knee-jerk reactions to political reporting (which pretty much happens every day.) As both the most un-athletic fan in any room and a self-described renegade, the whole concept of Super Bowl excites me as much as a Zombie Apocalypse. The hallowed sports day happens – just not here.
Super Bowl Sunday has become one of America’s biggest unofficial holidays. For weeks before the big game, commercials remind us to stock up for the event. Some even throw in a few ads that urge us to buy a spanking new flat-screen to watch the revered game on – just for good measure. You can’t be too over-the-top on Super Bowl. To non-football fans, though, it’s just lame.
The hallowed day is as is as traditional as Easter Egg hunts but with play by play narration. Did you know Super Bowl Sunday, overflowing with beer and obscene amounts of snacks, is second in consumption only after Thanksgiving? Uh huh.
With my lack of Super Bowl enthusiasm, I can’t believe I’ve ever gotten a single invite to those soirees, but yes, I do and I feel more than a little guilty about it. Who really wants a pigskin pal whose mind wonders if a date with my trusty Waterpik would sound reasonable?
Sometimes, even when we have no pulse-racing affinity for any team, we still become a fan by extension, like genetic predisposition. We rah-rah the family brand because, God forbid, raising another set of colors (did I say I wasn’t into Football Con?) might be as unwelcome as the opposition political party and there’s more than enough of that. I wonder, though, knowing my everlasting love of formaggio, if being a Cheese Head might be acceptable.
For my fellow sports ambivalent, rabid cheering for the team du jour falls into the “I don’t get it” category. By the way, why do guys shout instructions to coaches or players on TV when clearly, the objects of their irritation can’t hear a word they say? They will to do exactly what they damn please regardless of any armchair quarterback’s helpful diatribes. Somehow, the overly enthusiastic, grown ass men who yell (or curse) at their industrial size flatscreen don’t get the memo that they are not on the coaching payroll. And when the team wins, what’s with all the chest bumping ‘we’ won anyway? Like Tonto once said to the Long Ranger, “Who’s ‘WE’, Kemo Sabe?” I’m pretty sure the team with the Empire State building size trophy is the only one getting the supersized diamond rings, trip to Disneyworld and paycheck bonus you could retire to Monaco on.
To fans of America’s pigskin pastime, the Super Bowl is Oscar Night on steroids. These days, nosebleed seats start at nearly $5,000; prime 50-yard line seating behind the bench go for more than $20,000. I can’t imagine ponying up the price of a small car to sit bundled to my eyeballs for hours, in freezing temps, to watch a ball get kicked back and forth. But then, my athleticism would be a non-starter for everything sports, right? That is not to say I don’t covet front row seats at my grandsons’ varying sports forays. I’m the gramma paparazzi who voices embarrassingly loud cheers for the munchkins but then everything is relative. Literally.
Full disclosure – I do try to catch halftime and at least a commercial or two. Though heart-melting puppy commercials can always be viewed on YouTube, I usually prefer TedTalks and Randy Rainbow videos. Having had an ad agency, I also might be a tad jaded about inflated big money ad spots but for those deserving a Clio, they will be replayed endlessly during all your favorite shows from now on. So, no rush.
“The reason women don’t play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit I public”. Phyllis Diller
I maybe be an oddity of my gender. There are a heck of a lot of women who love football; in fact 45% of pro-football followers are women. I’m in awe of them, just not one of them. It’s not a Venus and Mars thing; just my thing. I suspect men (and my more sports-savvy women friends) reading this post will a. roll their eyes b. decide I’m a sports ignorant kook (you may be right) or c. want to teach me the game (others have tried). It’s possible that if I really understood the magic of the 20 yard line, I’d find an itsy modicum of enjoyment thereof. Then again – meh. I suspect I would be scratching my head about February’s football frenzy minus the Michelin men in tights (um, spandex) but then, that would make me sexist. (smiley face emoticon) I’ll just say that four and a half hours of criss-crossing a plastic pretend-grass field seems about as exciting to me as the endless litanies of thank-you’s on Oscar night might to you, so I guess we’re even.
Pro sports have long been thought a stand-in for warfare, soothing a savage inner beast that goes back to primitive times, tribal competition and the Roman Coliseum. Part of the romance of football may be conquest – it just hasn’t yet conquered me. Maybe envisioning athletes as our hulking, helmeted surrogate warriors, the embodiment of our best genetics protecting the tribe with a lot of testosterone thrown in, might help.
Um, still nope.
Second down. Punt. Field goal. See? I have absorbed some of the lingo, if not the lovefest. If I was so inclined, other factors seem to have infected that cheery artificial turf, like the growing concern over concussions. No longer a dissed possibility, brain damaging concussions have been frighteningly annotated from HS fields to major football arenas. Boys’ and men’s lives have been forever altered for want of an often violent game. Football increasingly protects the leagues more than the players. That pie-in-the-sky diamond ring seems hardly a fair trade for permanent head injury.
Then there is another artificially designed issue, flying under a nebulous banner of patriotism. The First Amendment right to protest in a quiet, respectful way might have already lost the game. The flag is a symbol of freedom for all, including those who kneel, not just those who stand. When deep divisions are inflamed, even a game as American as apple pie is reduced to crumbs. I may not care about the game, but I care about the country and that’s a field we can’t afford to lose.
So, bye, bye Super Bowl. See you again – never. Well, almost never.