Oh, today is the Super Bowl!
I wonder who’s playing.
I can’t believe I don’t know which teams are playing. Do I live under a rock? Am I not on social media all day, every day? What kind of blinders am I wearing?
I mean, let’s be clear. I don’t follow a single, solitary sport — not football, not basketball, not soccer, and certainly not tennis or golf (blech). I’m married to a man who’s the same way. So why on Earth would I bother freeing up any of my brainwaves trying to figure out who’s playing in the Super Bowl?
Sigh. Who am I kidding. I want to know because everyone’s talking about it, and it’s no fun being left out. The Super Bowl is like an unofficial national holiday. And yet, what, exactly, are we celebrating? We act like it’s a competition between two groups of men who’ve worked hard for this moment of glory…but let’s get real: This isn’t an episode of Friday Night Lights. It’s about selling shit. Just look at how much airtime goes to the ads, versus the actual game:
And yet…and yet. As much as I know all about the dark corporate underbelly of this faux holiday… I associate it with a certain unavoidable nostalgia that football prompts in me. I’m taken back to Sundays growing up, with the SOUND of a football game on TV, while I did other things nearby. All these years later, that sound is so soothing to me, like a fire in the fireplace — it evokes cozy. For some reason in this memory I am aware of the screen door going out to our backyard..the mini fridge in the basement, and that kind of minty, sage-colored wall to wall carpeting we had. I’m thinking of dad standing on the little cement landing outside the kitchen and grilling, or maybe mom did a lot of the grilling, too. She got hamburgers from Omaha Steaks. I don’t even know that we ate them on Sundays, just that thinking of the sound of the game takes me to that memory, too, and dad smoking a pipe, though I’m almost certain he wouldn’t have been doing that in the middle of the afternoon…it was something he did after dinner.
See what I mean?
And I’m remembering when our friends disinvited me and Jordan from their annual Super Bowl Party (yes, really — “we will not be inviting you this year…”) because the previous year, all we’d wanted to do was talk and watch the Puppy Bowl. It was clear we were there for the chili and Fritos and beer. Sure, we weren’t sports fans, but what (wo)man is immune to the siren call of Super Bowl FOOD? I think our fatal error was when we dared to ask that they mute the ads. “The commercials are the best part!”, they said. “But…they’re ADS!,” we argued back. “Who wants to be suckered into watching a bunch of multi-million dollar companies promote their shit to us? Why buy into that?”
In retrospect, I can see why I might not be fun at a Super Bowl party.
And while my lack of interest in the Super Bowl is certainly about (a) not liking football, (b) not having a clue how it’s played (despite many people explaining it to me on many occasions) and (c) hating ads, no matter how much they’re dressed up as entertainment….there’s also the small matter of the NFL seeming to care more about players using marijuana than about players beating their wives. FUCK THAT.
And all the news about football players getting concussions, and becoming suicidal…I may not have caught the names of the teams squaring off today, but I’m aware of THAT nasty trend.
In conclusion, I look forward to skipping over most Americans’ tweets and Facebook posts for the rest of the day. And next year I’ll host my own Super Bowl party, where we can eat Fritos and feel nostalgic about our youth while watching funny movies we’ve stolen from the Internet.