• David Unger PhD

To Super Bowl or Not to Super Bowl



I am reposting this as it is just as true this year as it was last. Not so sure about the Believe In Love part, but I guess we all believe in it. We just understand it differently.


If you are a football fan it is pretty much a given that you will be watching the Super Bowl. Some people tune in to the hours of pre-game programming to help pump them up for the game. I have never been to a Super Bowl but I know a big part of college football, and a smaller part of pro football, are the tailgate parties beforehand. I don’t even know if people tailgate before the Super Bowl as you don’t really have a regular fan base and every year the game is in a different place. I think the all day programming serves basically the same purpose and allows you to eat, drink and be merry a good part of the day at home or a friend's place or a bar.


I have read that 40% of people who watch the game are not actually fans and basically see this as a social gathering. I know the rabid fans tend to not like the people who walk in front of the TV, ask questions that serve to annoy and basically are there just to gather and chat with friends. Here it is the most important game of the year and you are surrounded by amateur fans. This is why many people choose to watch alone or just with their core group of fans.


And, of course, if you have a group you may have fans rooting for different teams. That provides a certain amount of pleasure if your team is winning and a certain amount of irritation if they are not. For non fans who would prefer to limit their socializing to people who share similar interests it is a great day to go to a museum, the mail or a movie. Roads are clear and just as long as you are off them before a mass of inebriated people hit the road, you pretty much have a safe and easy passage to a destination of your choice.


While there are always fans of particular teams who care about the outcome of the game, one of the big allures of the Super Bowl is that it is America’s largest gambling day. The last couple of Super Bowls have seen over a hundred million dollars bet. I find it disturbing that gambling is a cornerstone of football. When activities lose their intrinsic value and interest, it does not bode well for our culture. When parents reward a student with money for a grade well earned the student no longer cares about learning for learning sake, but for the profit it will provide. I would like to see those people who enjoy sports enjoy the sport for the pleasure it provides. If you have to bet money or make money on something to make it more enjoyable there is a distancing of interest. Why not just do something else that you enjoy? Certainly many people would not work if they were not paid, but wouldn’t you rather find a job that you would do regardless of whether you got paid. Parents get paid in so many ways for simply being a parent. We don’t have to pay people to have children. Nor should we have to bet with our children to get them go get grades or to make a game more enjoyable.


That said, let me make you a bet. I will bet you that if you are not a football fan, there would be a lot of people, and that may include you, that would be happier if you went and did something else that you enjoy rather than walk in front of the TV in the middle of a play. Of course you can always just watch the half time show and hang out with your friends in another room. If you look at this picture of a previous half time show that promotes believing in love, you might have a hard time grappling with the connection between people fighting in the trenches and throwing bombs and believing in love. If you have not seen this clip you might want to see what George Carlin said about the difference between baseball and football and consider going to a baseball game where a good part of the fan experience is talking with your friends between plays.

#SuperBowl

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