by Daniel D. Maurer
Before you get the wrong idea, l'm not slamming football. I know, some people don't like the game. But I do. (And yes. I realize the vintage photograph above is from baseball. I use what I can find! (And whatever's in the public domain.))
I mean, how can you not like it? Look at the good stuff it has.
You've got multi-hundred pound guys all slamming each other on a field. You've got sexy cheerleaders dancing in shameless, misogynistic glory (don't judge me—I'm a heterosexual male—they push my buttons whether or not I think it's wrong). You've got the big plays and instant replays and clear-fall-days. And it's got a funny shaped "ball" unlike any other real ball-shaped ball.
It's America's game. And, yes, it's even outstripped the former, quintessentially American pastime of baseball. At least that's what all the polls say about which sport is more popular. I suppose it may have something to do with the comparative speed of the games. Football's just more geared to the short attention span of most Americans. However, looking at Kubrick's photo above (which he undoubtably snapped at "the old ball game") you can see the intensity in the fans' faces. Sports are like that, I suppose: they temporarily make us care about something, that ultimately speaking, probably doesn't matter.
But football is cool. And football has the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is the big game. There's only one of them, unlike hockey or baseball, both of which have multi-game series.
Because it's one, big event—and because over 100 million people watch the damn game—it's television's one big event too.
A Super Bowl thirty-second commercial this year costs a whopping 4.5 million bucks.
The corporations that shell out such ungodly amounts do so simply because more people will see the product they're peddling at this one gigantic event.
The commercials are entertaining. Some are hilarious. All of them grab your attention. But all of them appeal to one big, fat lie.
I totally buy into the lie. It propagates itself like a virus. Everyone has it. You catch it by being born.
The human condition dictates that we like new things. Think about what you were feeling the last time you got a brand, spanking-new smart phone. You feel better about yourself.
Ever gotten a new car? Remember that smell? Everyone does. Driving it around, you feel like you're part of the car. You think everyone's looking at you, zipping up and down the street. So cool.
And what about new experiences? Sure, we're creatures of habit, but any new, positive change will give your heart a few extra beats per minute.
The marketing teams that put together the Super Bowl commercials know human nature. They expect it and they capitalize on it.
My brother and I had a long phone conversation about big, existential ideas this past week. He's going through a difficult, messy divorce. I feel for him. One of the observations he mentioned to me was just how utterly ephemeral and impermanent the "good things" in life seem to be.
"Dan, yesterday I played a gig and I looked out in the crowd. I saw the look on their faces—the people were enraptured with my playing. It was amazing. Magical. I never wanted it to end."
He continued, "But I got to thinking that all that's okay by itself, but if you constantly focus on that feeling—and how you will get it in the future—you totally miss out on living right now."
He's right. The now is all we ever have.
And if we keep thinking that something new is what we need to make us happy, we never will be.
That's all I've got for now. But I hope you take this little tidbit with you this week. Otherwise, you'll never be living now, but yearning for something new in the future.
Okay. Gotta go. There's six minutes left in the 2nd quarter and Denver's ahead. Plus, there's a cool new Coke commercial on with the Incredible Hulk.
About the Author
Daniel D. Maurer keeps the blog Transformation-is-Real. He is a freelance writer and has written three books, two of which are already published.
Yeah, another one's coming. A fourth one is in the works.
He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his family.