The Super Bowl may just be more American then the Fourth of July. It is at least, just as American as Independence Day. The good and bad of our country was on full display last night. The football game is only part of the spectacle and celebration of all things America that took place yesterday. So in honor of the Ravens who have repaid the city of Baltimore for the painful loss of the Colts under the cover of darkness so many years ago with two Super Bowls, here are my Superbowl ramblings….
I am so pleased to have missed all of the pregame talk for the past two weeks. I missed all of it. I didn’t watch it on Sportscenter, I didn’t watch the 8 hours of pregame coverage yesterday and I didn’t even unmute the TV until kickoff. This was my first win of the night.
My second win was inviting the right people over to our house! Our extended family/huddle group was gathered with us last night. We spent an hour working on discipleship and then enjoyed the game together. They hooked it up with a mixture of delicious treats.
My children love the Super Bowl because it is the one day all year that has their four main food groups of delight – chips and queso, pizza (pizza rolls in this case), wings, and fried cheese. Everyone is on a salad diet the rest of the week.
Capitalism is at its best on Super Bowl Sunday. Companies are working desperately to brand themselves in the public consciousness. They don’t even need new products to do so. They need to seem really American with a celebration of farmers (great commercial by the way), support of our troops, uniquely American quality, and heritage. It is a night about images and buzz above all else. There are the other companies just selling themselves out with sexual propaganda or scandalous advertisement to be known. Whatever is extreme but permissible will be on display on this day. So long as people are talking about them the next day they don’t really care what they are saying. It is sexploitation at its most impressive.
That is the part of the Super Bowl that is hard as a parent. This is the extreme America that I do my best to hide from my kids. I don’t want them watching a good portion of the commercials. I don’t want my 6 year old soon ogling a half dressed Beyonce as she struts and shakes while throwing in an occasional attempt at singing. This is American at full bore and it absolutely requires a filter.
The game too sums up America. It is a story of redemption, failure, battle, and differing views on God. Athletes on both side stand ready to give God praise for the outcome of the game. Some thankfully will give God thanks no matter the outcome. Others will credit God with this being a part of his “plan” for their life. God will be acknowledged for helping a highly trained athlete perform a basic task such as kicking an extra point. God will get credit for helping extraordinarily strong men level great amounts of violence upon each other. That is a part of America that needs a profound filter as well.
The Super Bowl at least does offer a built in time of community. In our culture that is so fast paced as to make community an near impossibility, it is a day when people actually think about gathering in each other’s homes. That is my favorite part of the Super Bowl – sharing it with friends and family. I love the spectacle of football and dramatic battle of men in such a meaningless pursuit. But truly, I love people. I love any excuse to gather with our extended family and laugh together. I love getting to snuggle on the couch with toddlers that aren’t my own and talk to them about football. I love snuggling on the couch with my best friend/wife and dissecting whether or not the Qb should slide when a huge man is about to brutalize him. (My wife criticizes them every time they slide by the way.) I love queso. I am working on this love but it is so deep and runs so strong.
So another Super Bowl has passed and it was blessed, cringe worthy, and oh so American. Now we wait till next year and dream of seeing RG3 holding the MVP trophy with burgundy and gold confetti falling to the ground.