You know the ones I mean…
It is Super Bowl Weekend. I am, at best, a fair-weather football fan. I watch my alma mater’s football games in the fall semester until we start losing in the second half, then I go find something else to do. I own a Broncos beanie and play Fantasy Football, but I can go entire weeks without even remembering that there are games on Sunday (much to the detriment of my Fantasy score). I always enjoy seeing the flood of Cowboys fan tears in the playoffs, but I don’t know that I could accurately tell you which division they’re in.
Despite my coolly detached relationship with America’s favorite pastime, though, I always find myself gathering with friends and family to enjoy the Super Bowl. Something about the big game, regardless of the constant deluge of consumerist nonsense, horrid halftime shows, and shady officiating, always compels me to sit down on the couch and join with millions of my fellow countrypersons every February. As flaky as I am with actual football appreciation, I genuinely look forward to the Super Bowl every single year.
There are a lot of Americans in my shoes who are feeling a little differently this year. In light of the widespread fear and unrest gripping much of the United States, the Super Bowl, with its garish veneer of hyper-patriotism, just feels a bit profane in 2017. A bit superficial. A bit excessive. For many of us, it seems impossible to bond over a silly sport when much larger divisions are causing rifts in our relationships and communities.
But I guess that’s exactly what I’m encouraging you all to do this weekend. Not because you need to compromise your own values with those who perpetuate hatred and fear, but because your soul desperately needs some reprieve from the endless waves of fear and shock and disbelief inundating it. Because you need a chance to exorcise your demons over food and laughter and some good ol’ full-contact athleticism. Because you need to be reminded of what it feels like to be content, even for just a little while.
And I can think of no better way to experience that time of soul balm than in the presence of loved ones, breaking bread and trash-talking in the most American way possible. There’s just something so refreshing about opening your home to others, about cooking a delicious snack for others, about going out of your way to let others know you appreciate them and enjoy their company.
Today I witnessed so much selflessness from this community, and I honestly, wholeheartedly believe that selflessness is what’s going to see this country through. The great thing about selflessness is that it doesn’t require grand acts of benevolence and loud proclamations in the street to be good. It can be something as small as sending a fellow metalhead a record on Bandcamp. Or withholding some extra cash you were going to spend on a CD so that you can directly support a charity. Or even just asking that quiet guy at the Super Bowl party how his week has been. Selflessness can be a tiny pebble in a huge pond, but even some of those ripples can still reach the shore.
So here’s what I’d like to propose. This weekend, don’t stew in your home, miserable and afraid. Accept that Super Bowl invitation. Invite some friends over. Knock on your neighbor’s door. Get out of your comfort zone a little and do something to pay it forward, to show kindness and friendship despite everything within you yelling to retreat. And do so while eating way too many wings, drinking way too much beer, and enjoying way too much football.
let’s make selflessness and community the American way and watch the Super Bowl together. And if you’re one of our friends from outside the US, feel free to come hang out with us here at Toilet ov Hell this Sunday and pretend to be one of us Americans. You’re always welcome here.