BY SUSAN KATHRINE CORKRAN, STAFF WRITER
The Super Bowl has come and gone, along with all of the great American pastimes that accompany the massive televised event. For many people, it is a tradition as important as Thanksgiving, usually with similar amounts of food. I’ve seen jerseys on adults, children and animals this past weekend. Even my priest mentioned the game during his homily.
There is no denying that football is at the heart of American culture. However, it does seem worth remembering that this sport is, at the end of the day, just a game that not every American fawns over with quite the same enthusiasm.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the fanfare and celebration. I didn’t grow up in a family that cared for American football in the slightest, but I have since seen how sweet it can be when football becomes a bonding moment for many families who love supporting their home team together. I enjoy seeing fathers tossing a football around with their kids, and it makes me happy to think of families getting to spend the day together, relaxing and enjoying themselves.
What I do not care for is the mockery that some sports fans feel is necessary to offer those of us who will not be following the football season … or, for that matter, cannot reliably list more than five NFL teams. Isn’t it odd how we have singled out this particular sport as a mandatory activity that everyone must enjoy?
For those of us who are unfamiliar with the rules and general sports culture, it is intimidating to have well-meaning friends who try and force the game onto us. If you really loved the taste of, say, potato chips, but your friend didn’t like them, would you force-feed them a bag each year because “everybody else is eating them!”?
We can respect certain differences in fondness for music, movies, books and food, but many people seem to view football as a ubiquitous trait of American life. Bald eagles, apple pie and touchdowns—God bless America!
There are so many fierce debates surrounding the safety of football, enough to make it a national scandal for prominent politicians to say that they would not allow their sons to play the often-violent sport. Nothing seems to boil people’s blood more than a differing opinion “attacking” the sanctity of the game, especially when the uncomfortable issue of concussions is brought up. The phenomenon meant to bring people together can also be polarizing, which seems counterintuitive to me.
Can’t we simply accept that some people love this game, some people think that it needs certain restraints and some people simply don’t care? We are lukewarm. Our blood doesn’t match any team’s colors and we aren’t keen on cheering ourselves hoarse while figures move about on a screen. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing—it’s simply a preference. So enjoy your potato chips, but please don’t expect me to take a bite.