The Super Bowl is well timed. It comes mid-winter, a month after our New Year’s resolutions begin deflating, when the market is teetering, our finances are squeezed, and the collections agencies calling day and night. For those who were fortunate to make some income last year, the 1099’s or W-2s arrive, and we brace ourselves to face off with the IRS.
Around the world, the situation remains dire. Spin the globe and land on any spot; you’ll find another distressing story to cloud the skies of your optimistic world view. And the signs of true human heroism we also find in every place of agony rise up, only to be drown under the tidings of bad news, cynicism, and despair.
Yet we are made in God’s image, and so we cling to our hopes of a better world to come. We dream of new acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, we seek out (through faith or fantasy) new visions of larger-than-life achievements, we stretch, and strive, and never give up.
All the above helps explain, in just a preliminary way, the exaggerated appeal of our annual lapse of sanity called the Super Bowl. Adding up all the collective expenses related, even if remotely, to a game that technically lasts only one hour, we can only imagine how many billions of dollars get expended. Just look at the short term inflation happening in Phoenix, then blow up that balloon until it swallows the whole world.
But all this year’s soap-opera of highly distracting human drama (around just a few players who dominate the nightly news and the social media gossip) is too much for me. I shouldn’t even be writing about the Super Bowl. In a very real sense, in the face of so much more important material, this year’s overkill is not just disgraceful, it is disgusting.
Still, I am from Seattle. I shall sit down and dutifully watch, and pray for my home team, even while I secretly hope that Tom rounds out his career with a game that he and Gisele can celebrate for years to come.
But in my heart of hearts, every time Russell Wilson or Tom Brady get sacked, then stand again to face the impossible odds, I’ll be thinking of heroes around the world who don’t make the morning paper or the evening news. I’ll be rooting for the unsung victors of countless struggles. I’ll be dwelling on the people who compose today’s gospels.
Like that woman in the IS stronghold of Raqa, in Syria, who, after having been stoned by Jihadist fanatics for the alleged crime of adultery, stood up and walked away. They just stood there, balls deflated. She, in a way that will be celebrated till the end of time, left them impotent.
Come Sunday, I’ll drink to that. In a sports empire so exclusive of females, this woman proved, in my opinion, to be the true MVP.