We didn’t watch the Superbowl last night, not really. We were super busy, though, and had the game on for awhile but for the most part it went on without us. We did hear on the news that the New York Giants spoiled the New England Patriots perfect season. That would have been something for the history books. Sports aficionados will be discussing whether or not the Pats season was better than Miami’s for years. “Oh but you’re forgetting the Patriots,” they’ll say, “They won more games.” Well of course that’s what matters isn’t it?
Instead of watching the game, and this is a little ironic, we put the kids into bed and watched a football movie. “We Are Marshall” has been in the watch pile for a long time. We have always liked to watch movies together and did so a great deal when we were dating. Time’s a little more scarce these days but we still manage to watch one every now and then. This one was really well done, I thought and managed to shift the focus from the dead to the living. It didn’t dwell on the fiery plane crash or any of those grisly details. It focused on the comeback, on the playing of the game because that’s what needed to be done.
Not because you want endorsements, not because the MVP gets a Cadillac, not because you want to go to Disneyworld. For the love of the game and for the fans who watch—that’s what these kids were about when they played. It struck me that we have lost our focus when it comes to sports. It’s no longer about sportsmanship, competition, overcoming or being overcome. It’s no longer about pitting your strength against another’s to test yourself and your opponent. It’s about the bling. It’s about the supermodel girlfriend or the Manhattan apartment. It’s the big contract baby.
And that’s a crying shame. That’s the reason I don’t really watch that much professional football. College kids play with heart. If they work it, get an interception and then run it back for a huge gain or a touchdown it’s not for a cash bonus. It’s all heart and drive and pride in the game. Or it used to be that way. Even as I write this a great number of college players play ball because they are hoping for a ticket to the NFL.
I don’t know. I think it’s a huge drain on our greatest national resource—young minds. Granted, a great number of football players don’t win renown for their intellect. But many of them are very smart people who spend the most energetic and productive years of their lives playing a game. They don’t invent anything. They don’t start new businesses. They control vast fortunes that they mostly spend on themselves or their agendas. Even the shameless entrepreneurial-ism of John Elway and even Troy Aikman would be a step up from just blowing through all that money.
I don’t know, seems like a waste to me.