Today is Super Bowl Sunday, nearly a Holiday, and according to the Morgan Freeman’s reassuring voice over on a VISA commercial, “The most epic day in America.” That’s a commercial, yet I think he is right. Today is epic and we have a deep unmet need for the epic in our lives.
We lack heroes, reality, drama, and play in our lives. For many, football provides a connection outside of the challenges of the mundane. Sports are one of the few live venues we can consume. The outcomes are uncertain. The games have rules, but unlike reality tv shows they are not scripted, crafted, and, I think, phony. There is genuine competition and this speaks to us.
I think we are starved for heroes. Who can we turn to? Our politicians? Please. While the 110 million Americans watching the game tonight will not be playing, we will enjoy it vicariously thanks to mirror neurons.
And this particular game brings plenty of drama. The overlooked younger brother of the game’s most talented player playing in the house his brother built. The three-time Super Bowl champion seeking his fourth ring (and, by the way, the nemesis of the older brother). It’s Eli Manning versus Tom Brady, The New York Giants versus the New England Patriots, Tom Coughlin versus Bill Belichick.
It’s the underdog versus the established hero — David versus Goliath. It’s a rematch of four years ago when the Giants despoiled the Patriots perfect season by beating them in shocking, unlikely fashion in the Super Bowl. It’s a rematch; a chance for Brady to avenge this loss.
And then there is the personal drama of the Patriots. This season is dedicated to the memory of Myra Kraft, wife of Robert Kraft, who died early this season. The “MHK” emblem on their jerseys is a testament to her. Patriots Football Weekly declared the AFC Championship game victory over the Ravens, “Myra-culous.” When Robert Kraft overspent $173 million dollars for the Patriots in 1992, Myra thought Robert had lost his business acumen. Today the Patriots are worth $1.5 billion.
As the juggernaut of the modern era, they are Goliath. News from the front lines suggests the Giants are the overwhelming local favorite. I imagine in part because the Patriots are the “bad guys” and the Giants, who just barely made the playoffs are the “good guys” — the underdogs. I think they are rooting for Peyton’s younger brother and agains this nemesis, Tom Brady.
As I mentioned yesterday, I will endeavor to watch with great interest and without hope. I will enjoy this spectacle as play and relish the unfolding impermanence. We can be mindful of a football game when we not only give it our attention, but watch without craving or aversion. Good luck with that! We will have the opportunity to watch the arising of desire and aversion and when they show up, if we can be mindful, we can give them a kiss on the cheek and let them go.
Enjoy yourself tonight!