So, it's that time of year when all eyes are focused upon the NFL prize, and all true blooded Americans, as well as a multitude of cosmopolitan Midwesterners, will anxiously await to have their regional loyalties and marginal gambling allegiances vindicated by the ultimate victory. Indeed, somewhere in the middle of an Indiana or Illinois cornfield, it will smell like napalm on Monday morning.
As a marginal sports enthusiast (and a dedicated U of Mich. football fan) I can understand the excitement of this culmination of athletics and consumerism as an experience that every pop culture adherent must participate in. Yet as someone whose loyalties are bound up by an ancient regionalism that commands allegiance to the Lions, I am uniquely qualified to pooh-pooh this weekends event as nothing more than an idolatrous festival to capitalism and consumerism run amok.
I have vowed not to participate in the Super Bowl festivities for the past four years, only to be co-opted by the fact that I have worked along side of marginalized Americans who feed into the holiday-like atmosphere of Super Bowl Sunday. I have found that homeless folks and institutionalized teens somehow feel as if they had some stake in all of the pageantry, as the tributes to multi-millionaire players and multi-national corporations flicker across the wide screen televisions that are fully glorified by the spectacle.
The odd thing is, that the Super Bowl parties I participated in over the first three years of this stretch were all sponsored by churches or para-church organizations. Of course, these parties included prayer time and spiritual sharing amidst the partially exposed breasts and geriatric entertainers of the half-time extravaganzas. While it seems fairly obvious to me that followers of Jesus might do well to steer clear of the mammon worshipped during Super Sunday, it appears that I am in the minority (imagine that). Even my fellow Quaker seminarians are invested in the epic struggle between modern day gladiators (or plantation tenants) that, according to some feminist organizations, is also the occasion of the highest incidence of spousal abuse during the year. So come on everyone, put on your blue jerseys, drink lots of Budweiser or Coors light or Absolut and cheer your gambling interest on to victory. And enjoy the commercials. I hear their often better than the half-time shows.