I love the Super Bowl, but this year, it also makes me a bit sad.
Even though I didn’t grow up in a “football” family, my Mom always made a pot of chili on the day of the Big Game, and we chose a team to root for, and we gathered around the TV to eat and laugh and cheer together. (Eventually I realized I was much more fascinated by the commercials than the game itself – but that’s a different story.)
All over America today, some variation of that scenario will play out. There will be parties and gatherings and indulgent food of all kinds – and – yes – the commercials!
And the thing I love the most about this is that the majority of Americans will be doing this. We’ll be doing it together in our homes, in bars, in Allegiant Stadium itself. And we’ll be doing it collectively, as a country, as a big, diverse, beautiful American family. It is just. So. Great.
So, what makes me sad?
Well, after the Super Bowl is over and the winner’s declared, football season is also over.
That means all the ways in which football rallies Americans together for friendly competition and fantasy leagues and weekly gatherings – that’s over for the year, too.
Then comes the post-football vacuum. In 2024, if you haven’t felt it already, that vacuum will be filled in large part by the Presidential election. And my heart gets heavy at the thought that we may be hurtling headlong into a season of vitriol and confusion and separation.
When I saw this image from the Detroit Lions / San Francisco 49ers playoff game, I thought, “We could be like that.” We could choose to be Red and Blue TOGETHER.
We could root for our own teams and still be kind and civil and friendly toward each other. We could even be curious about each other. We could ask each other probing questions that don’t seek to prove our point. We could listen to each other with open hearts. We could decide not to buy into the temptation to weaponize our language and hurt each other. We could – even in the election season – treat communication as an Act of Love.
When the lights go down on LVIII, maybe we can keep the spirit of the football season alive in our hearts. Maybe we can take that sense of friendly competition into the next nine months and beyond. Maybe we can remember that Red and Blue do coexist beautifully together.
If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that the way forward is through, and the way through is together. Let’s do this thing together.
IMAGE: David Guralnick / The Detroit News – 28 Jan 2024
Here you'll find some of my thoughts about communication, contemplation, yoga, life and various other topics. Thanks for giving them a read.