a diversion worth a super day?
back in the saddle again, if briefly
I held off blogging this piece from last week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine, as it is ever more timely today. The provocative headline, Is It Immoral To Watch the Super Bowl?, provokes, as it is intended to do. The piece is a bit more nuanced, with writer Steve Almond introducing his neighbor Sean to carry the conflicted male psyche burden, with an interesting and highly relevant back story.
As Almond notes, it is easy to come across as a self-righteous jerk when soap-boxing on this field. So the best approaches are, to my mind, personal accounts of why This Particular Person has unhooked from the NFL. Almond does this well, in part by observing how the seemingly passive fans create the context in which players calculate income and celebrity against the risk of grievous injury:
The struggle playing out in living rooms across the country is that of a civilian leisure class that has created, for its own entertainment, a caste of warriors too big and strong and fast to play a child’s game without grievously injuring one another. The very rules that govern our perceptions of them might well be applied to soldiers: Those who exhibit impulsive savagery on the field are heroes. Those who do so off the field are reviled monsters.
The civilian and the fan participate in the same basic transaction. We offload the mortal burdens of combat, mostly to young men from the underclass, whom we send off to battle with cheers and largely ignore when they wind up wounded.
I have many many friends who will spend 4+ hours this evening doing the XLVIII thing. (At some point, I will spend a half hour or so watching the commercials on the interwebs.) I won’t argue with them, though some of them are curious about my decision, now 2 full seasons long. But thoughtful commentary like Almond’s will inexorably combine with parents nervous about their young sons starting down that sports path.
drip … drip … drip
I don’t think we will see a Super Bowl C.