Super Bowl XXXI - Oh, Joy

January 26, 1997

Well, tonight was that joyous occasion known as the Super Bowl, when millions of people stare at their television screens to watch a few men battle each other in a controlled fury; a foolishness compounded by the fact that few of these onlookers actually have anything to benefit from the game or its outcome, except for the bragging rights to say, "My team won!!!"

To celebrate the glorious Super Bowl XXXI, I spent this afternoon at my church youth group's Super Bowl Party. In addition to watching the game on the living room television of a church member's home, there was also indoor swimming, Billiards (pool), and a cool 200 MHz computer to entertain us. I spent most of my time playing pool or watching people use the computer, instead of simply watching the game. But I did see enough of the game to observe the reactions of the other teens.

Three teens from the same family, who coincidentally have the last name of "Packer," were cheering from start to finish for - you guessed it - the Packers. When the final score was announced - 35 to 21, the Packers over the Patriots - there was a mild uproar as there were shouts of "Yeah..." "We are the champions..." blah, blah, blah. I was a little happy for them because the Packers won, but I really didn't care myself which team won.

What I saw tonight at this church party was how self-centered and uncaring people can be. I could concentrate on comments made to me such as, "Will you just leave? If you think I like you, I don't, you know." But that is off the subject, so I'll forget about that little put-down. What I will concentrate on is how people will yell and holler and scream about something essentially unimportant, and yet not realize and work for things that are important. What is the relative value of a football game? Yes, as a Christian, I know that Christians on football teams have a great medium to share their faith. That's great for the players. But why should I, Joe American, get so excited (positively or negatively), about a game that can't affect my life directly? Football is a game - a GAME - like playing Scrabble or Uno or Monopoly. Sure it's great to win, but it isn't worth bragging about for ages and ages. If you actually played in the game, then it must be a great feeling to win the Super Bowl, and perhaps the actual players do have a reason to brag. But again, as Joe American, what would I have to brag about? Did I do anything that helped the team to win? Am I to be hailed as great if my team wins? Am I to be chastised if my team doesn't?

The serenade of "We are the champions..." was a little irritating, based on these realizations of mine. I could have said, "No, you are not the champions; the Green Bay Packers are the champions; you are simply a viewer, a supporter." But surely that would have created a great deal of wrath against me from the sports fanatics, so "...break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue." (Hamlet, Act I, Scene 2, line 164)

In preparation for this great party tonight, my thoughts were that although I wasn't real excited about the game, I would enjoy the time because of the "social contact" I would be able to gain. And of course it was good for me to be around other Christians from my youth group. But it was comments like the aforementioned "Will you just leave; we don't want you around" that caused pain for me. People can be excited over nothing, but at the same time totally disregard the importance of the "finer" things of life - encouragement, friendship, joy, etc. Call me an intellectual and sentimental, but to have one call me "friend" is a much greater accomplishment than to see "my team" win a football game, even the Super Bowl.

These are my comments for the day. I realize that these are to many folks out there politically and socially incorrect. And so I'm offering you the chance to respond. Assuming your response does not contain any profanity or other undesirable language, I'll even post your response here on this page. So if you have a comment, click here.

My semi-relevant thought for the day:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words can break my heart."

back to the WISE THOUGHTS archive
Last modified on January 26, 1997