Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I Watch the Superbowl

When I was a young child I determined that in "my world" U.S. football (and hockey and boxing too I might add) is nothing more than a modern day gladiator spectacle played by teams. The difference is that today team owners, coaches, and players make astronomical amounts of money instead of playing for their lives. Today the players are usually only injured instead of killed while providing entertainment for the masses.

But like most Americans, I grew up around an extended family of football fanatics. Also I played the drums in marching bands which provided entertainment before and during high school and college football games. So I couldn't escape it. I put up and shut up. I even tried in the late 1980s to learn about football with a John Madden videotape (before the "Dummies" and "Idiots Guide" series of books became popular)under the mistaken impression that my ignorance of the game was holding back my enthusiasm for it. Not so. I was just as ambivalent after understanding the difference between a tight end and a running back.

I joined the mass of people, mostly women (although my mom is a die hard football fan so she breaks the stereotype) who endure these televised bloodbaths with their family and friends just to spend time with them rather than going off and congregating with a group of other football ambivalent folks to do their own thing. While watching televised football (and hockey and boxing) I have learned and completed a number of knitting, embroidery, furniture refinishing, and scrap booking projects to keep myself entertained and avoid the display of violence on the field.

I started enjoying the halftime entertainment too. I'm one of the people who can't tell you who played in the Superbowl on any given year, but I can tell you who the halftime headliner was that year. I'm not alone. One of the women was sitting around a dinner table and we were all trying to figure out which year of the early 90s Minneapolis, MN hosted the Superbowl. One of the women chimed in "that's the year Gloria Estafan was the halftime show".

Then there's the commercials. I will also admit that I love watching and critiquing the commercials shown during the Superbowl. I think that I must have been an advertising creative writer in a former life (in my present life my stint in this role was very short-lived).

I just read an article about Budwiser's Superbowl ads online. Here's a preview of what you can expect from the Anheiser Bush folks on Superbowl Sunday.

But no matter how good Tom Petty is--and I'm very much looking forward to hearing him sing "I Won't Back Down"--and no matter how clever and funny all the commercials are this year. You can rest assured that I will wonder to myself as I do every year at the end of the game, "What if all the money over the past ?40? years (I also can't tell you which number Superbowl is coming up on 2/3) that was spent on pro football had instead been raised and spent to help the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the displaced--what would the world look like today?"

Not to mention the game is shown on Murdock's FOX network this year. Sigh. But that is a post for another day!

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