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Monday, February 07, 2011

The Great American Holiday

Yesterday, for the first time in I don't know how many years, I watched the Super Bowl. Be afraid. Before you think that I woke up and turned into some kind of football loving fanatic, let me clarify to say that our small group at church had a Super Bowl party, and in the spirit of community and doing new things, we went. I would also like to say that I enjoyed myself. It isn't that I hate football or have anything against it, I just usually have better things to do with my time than watch it or any other sport. Sorry, that's just me.

For the great event, I started a new knitting project. I think I overstepped my knitting ability ever so slightly, but I think it'll turn out okay anyway. The good news is that when I hit the "I'm so over my head that I am going to start megacussing" part of the project, the game was over and we went home. But because I am one of those driven people who CAN'T ACCEPT FAILURE EVER, I had to fix the problem. Which led to watching Glee for the first time. (Not bad, but it won't be on my must-see TV list.) Then, the news. I thought about turning it off, but that would have meant putting down my project, potentially leading to a mistake and A LOT MORE cussing.

On the news, the sports guy gave this monologue about how the real great American holiday is the Super Bowl. That really, of all the things we celebrate, the Super Bowl is the most important. After I recovered from the shock which led me to jabbing myself with a needle (I'm starting to think I shouldn't use metal needles), I thought about what he said, and I have to grudgingly admit that he is right. Which makes me really sad.

As Americans (and I'm speaking in generalities here), we tend to place more importance on our sporting events than we do on other things. Yes, we celebrate the Fourth of July, but does it mean anything to anyone other than a day off work and a chance to party with friends? When was the last time your friends painted their bodies to show how grateful they are to their forefathers for being willing to risk everything for your chance at freedom? Sure, we celebrate Christmas and Easter, but are we moved to tears at the glory of the coming of our Lord? Do we weep at the knowledge of letting our God down the way Ben Roethlisberger did at letting his team down?

For the most part, we put more into our favorite sporting events than we invest into the things that are real and have lasting impact. How many lives were changed because X team won the Super Bowl eighteen years ago? I could Google it, and maybe even some people could name the teams without looking it up. But were lives changed? This is the Great American Holiday, people, and we aren't doing anything with it that matters.

One of the people at the party noticed that the announcers' lapels all seemed to feature a pin supporting the Make a Wish Foundation. But it seemed sad to me that it wasn't overtly explained (which I admit, we could have missed in our chatter during the game), and that the viewers weren't invited to take part in something that could have been meaningful. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if the Super Bowl wasn't just about football, but about doing something good for others?

I'm not against the Super Bowl. I don't think it's evil. But I do think we're missing an opportunity. I don't like that our local newscaster had a point- the Super Bowl is probably the truest reflection of our culture and what it's about. Which makes me really sad. And it makes me rethink the things I do celebrate and why I celebrate them. My hope, in the coming year, is that as each holiday approaches, I am able to put it in the proper perspective.

Which holidays do you think are out of perspective? What do you do to keep them in proper perspective?

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