Sunday, February 05, 2006

Brain Activity, Seven-Layer Dip and the "Super Bowl"

The quickest way to start recovering from a sports addiction is "Super Bowl Sunday". As someone who spent some quality Saturday time yesterday brainwave-deprived on the couch watching the riveting Wichita State v. Southern Illinois State basketball game, I can definitely claim a level of addiction. There is a certain baby-in-the-womb feeling for us sports junkies, blankly staring at the ball and players going up and down the court, as we sprawl on the couch enveloped in a placenta of complete meaninglessness.

True, it's the same addiction as those who can't get off the Internet or "Amercian Idol", but sports does have it's own side-effects and impacts on society, most of which we sports junkies never like to think about. Then there's "Super Bowl Sunday", and every awful thing about sports is thrust into our face like gory photos of alcohol-related fatal car crashes forced upon an alcoholic.

Where to start? about the commercialization? The idol worship totally out of sync with what constitutes idols and heroes? Maybe a focus on how the game is supposed to dictate life not only for those who watch, but everyone else as we call everything "Super Bowl ....", as in "Super Bowl Blog Entry", "Super Bowl Breakfast Specials" and "Super Bowl Murder Rate Increase Stories"? Did I mention the commercialization?

Those are all irritating to the extreme, but let's face it sports junkies, the worst aspect of "Super Bowl Sunday" is that it's a day for amateurs. We who can remember watching the tail end of 42-0 blowouts on Sunday Night Football three months ago are now surrounded by the ultimate in bandwagon jumpers who wouldn't sit five minutes for a "regular season" game. Where we're used to having a Sunday alone with a few beers and a Fox NFL doubleheader, now we have "Super Bowl Watching Parties" with stupid things like seven-layer dip and conversations about which commercial is the funniest. Who cares about the commercials? We sports junkies know that commercials exist to give us a chance to switch to CBS for the Broncos game and maybe the NFL Network for an update on stats for our fantasy team.

But of course there is no other game. Not even basketball, or hockey, or my wife's least favorite televised activity, golf. Nothing. ESPN is running, as per normal, figure skating during "The Game". In other years it's been endless loop repeats of Cheerleading Championships and 9-ball tournaments. In other words, nothing.

Now for some full disclosure:
  1. I haven't watched the Super Bowl in its entirety since I was a kid and a Roger Staubach was the Cowboys' quarterback.
  2. I have never attended a "Super Bowl Party".
  3. I'm not really much of a NFL football fan.
Now some of you might be saying, "A Ha (or AHA, or A ha), Scot how can you get off criticizing "Super Bowl Sunday" when you don't even watch it?!? (or !?!) You obviously just don't get it!" To which I reply, it's exactly because of the Super Bowl that I am not much of a NFL fan. Maybe it took the "Big Game" to finally get through my brainwave-deprived skull, but the NFL is about everything but the game. It's about celebrating between the plays more than making them, it's about the commercials running every few plays, acting as their own little celebrations. It's about the friggin' Rolling Stones at halftime instead of the Highland High Marching Band from Pensacola, Florida. It's about incessant promos for whatever lame-ass Heather Graham sit com will be following the post-game and post-post-game shows.

Let's face it, the "Super Bowl" is as close to a completely successful consumer brainwashing project as we have in this country. And we're supposed to celebrate that? Just as you should never trust any legislation that is favored by all legislators, never trust or involve yourself in something that "everybody is doing". The "Super Bowl" shows that, given enough seven-layer dip and some cute commercials, Amercans are just as likely to fall for a totalitarian government.

All that is needed is to subtly change the irrational love from the Steelers to "ending tyranny on the Earth" and we'd be making the Iraq Occupation look like Lunch Detention in about five minutes. I can only thank whatever God, Goddess or Probability existing in the world that has somehow prevented the "State of the Union" from taking on "Super Bowl Sunday" proportions. I don't want to give President W or any future President ideas, but maybe some Budweiser commercials and seven-layer dip would do the trick. And screw the standing ovations, the Prez has got to break out the endzone celebration when he/she makes a point.

So, anyway. What I'm saying is that yesterday I'm sitting brainwave-deprived on the couch when it occurs to me that maybe watching Wichita State v. Southern Illinois State play basketball is a waste of time. Maybe even these dinky unheralded basketball games share the fascistic tendencies of the "Super Bowl". Maybe every sporting event has as it's core a slavish worship to supposed idols, a time-wasting obsession with what is really just a game of chance made to appear intentional, the observation of a sublimated battle in which we take sides and desire the obliteration of a needlessly invented enemy.

I thought that, or something sorta like that, before I got up from the couch to go do the dishes. But first, I had to check out the score in the UConn/Indiana game, and the Kansas State/Oklahoma State game, and the Arizona/UCLA game. I went through the other channels, but no other games were on. So I got up and did those dishes.

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