I was not a jock in high school. (I know, you're shocked.)
My sophomore year I spent exactly one day on the JV football team. (It was the tryout day.) When it came time to hit that tall blue padded thing — I believe it was meant to simulate an opponent — I ran at it hard, but apparently not hard enough. I still remember the coach saying: "I'm not your mother and that thing's not your sister." In my opinion, it could have been more padded. But the point was well-taken.
While some of my closest friends were jocks, it seemed that they spoke a different language with each other. Joining in their conversation was fraught with risk. What if they found out, that I didn't know what a "scrimmage" was? What is it?
I was intimidated…
Which is why I love the Super Bowl. It's America's biggest sports holiday and it welcomes everyone in. At least 90 million Americans will watch. That includes way more than the jock crowd.
There's something for everyone:
The game itself is fun to watch — it's loud and kind of violent, like any good blockbuster. "Sudden Death": what could be more edge-of-your-seat exciting? And it's easy to follow: one team through a series of maneuvers (or "plays") moves the ball in one direction. The other teams moves in the opposite direction. What could be simpler? (Plus, it's got the satisfying moral clarity that Americans demand: Winners and Losers. No ties like in Soccer.)
For some, the game's two halves are bookends for the spectacular halftime show. This year it's Prince — appropriate since the Bears, the Colts and the Minneapolis-raised Prince are all Midwestern boys.
For others, the game is a chance to go to the bathroom, so you don't miss the ads. They're amazing. What other articles of pop culture are water cooler fodder before they're even broadcast?
Best of all, there's the togetherness factor. People will watch in bars, at community centers and most of all in homes — together. Men and women, young and old and really old, jocks and drama clubbers.
I wish I had played team sports. I think every kid should. Teamwork builds character - teaches people about leadership and cooperation. I can't turn back the clock and hit that blue thing harder. But I am going to hustle to make the best guacamole I can. I'm glad there are a bunch of people counting on me. Now play ball!
(Do they say that in football?)