Sunday, February 04, 2007

Good morning, and happy Super Bowl Sunday. I guess this truly is some sort of holiday... the slickest, most commercial kind, but I like it for its shallow yet forthright appeal.

In middle school we played touch football, and though I never made any attempt to understand *first down and second,* I can still distinguish defense from offense. I loved receiving and running. I loved the thrill of an interception, the glory of catching the ball in the end zone. My brothers and I played with the neighborhood boys when we lived in the condos by the university. We played in the common driveway until nightfall, then we when we couldn't see the ball we knew it was time for quitting. In the eighties, living in UC family housing, we watched the Chargers, and even saw them at practice during training on the school campus. And recently I've taken to sitting down with my children and watching the big game. I always say it's for the commercials, because I do like talent and expression in the media and I especially love to laugh. But I can get caught up in the game too. Are they going to make the kick? Will he catch the pass? Was that a fair call? And for a few moments I can recall the fun we had when we played on concrete, around the parking lot, in a park, with friends and neighbors. It felt good to run hard, to make a connection with the ball, to dispute a play, to shrug off the cold.

Alex has started playing football at school. He's learning the rules, and building up his resilience to the rough sport, the snubs and shoves. He says he's looking forward, more so than in past years, to seeing the game. For the record, I am cheering for the Bears, because I have been to Chicago and that's close to Wisconsin and I love Wisconsin. I don't need to know team details, like the methods or means by which they play. I'm in it for the guacamole, the funny commercials, the great passes and terrible tackles, and for the feeling of holiday connectedness to family and friends, to neighbors and the fans. Here's something I found, a "Non-sports fan's guide to Super Bowl XLI," but I thought it went too far describing team histories and styles. And now it is time to heat the chili and tackle a little more cleaning.

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