OK, as a Canadian living the U.S. for the last 21 years, I admit that NFL football, and the Super Bowl party every year, have nudged steadily closer to the top of my list for why I prefer living here. Make Obamacare cheaper and I'll get my dual citizenship.
But I'm not watching the Super Bowl this year. Not just because of Deflategate, although that's probably what pushed me over the edge. Mainly, I've realized it's a complete and utter waste of time. I have better things to do.
I expect that stance will irk plenty of fans. Hey, I'm not telling you to stop watching, just talking about why I am. And, fact is, I went on watching for years after other guys quit. But I'd bet that more than a few of you feel the same way I do right now. We read that Brett Favre and Mike Ditka wouldn't let their sons play and we suddenly care what happens to players later in life. Caring like that is a good thing, in a society so steeped in monetizing violence.
The league just confirmed that one in three players will be affected by brain trauma. There's also more dementia, shorter life spans... or so the hard-to-verify statistics say. This is all being interpreted in various ways depending on the authors, but the stories are usually about statistics and money. I haven't read more than a handful of emotional words yet. NFL football is big, big business.
Meanwhile, there's the domestic violence issue, sitting there like a you know what in the middle of the living room.
Sure, there are skills, unimaginably amazing skills on display. That's why I've watched. But there's also brutality. And, supposedly cheating. So, I'm not watching this year.
I suspect my absence won't sink the ratings. I don't imagine any sort of boycott is going to happen. Possible cheating, violence, traumatic injuries... it's all just part of the game, apparently, and life goes on.
Except, it's life on a slippery slope. 2015 begins with more challenges to human survival than ever before. In the time it takes to watch the Super Bowl, as many as 20 to 35 species may go extinct, and that will repeat every four hours. Why don't we care more about that than we care who wins the game?
I want my values back. So, I'll do something else this year, something that's less fun probably, but also less distracting and more likely to help me get that we are failing to honestly and aggressively confront the really important problems for our time, that's we're not doing a whole lot about any of them and this will dramatically impact quality of life for our grandchildren.
Oops, there's that "we" word, reminding me that I'm abstracting and that this is about me, not we. What am I going to do about this? Well, for starters, I'm not watching the game. I will host a party and maybe we'll watch Rudy.