Aw, that title wasn't nice of me. I won't say "I'm sorry," because I'm not, but I do respect for the Seattle Seahawks and their fans, and the Super Bowl this year was a really fantastic game of football. That being said, I'm a New England Patriots fan. Well, to be more accurate, first I'm a New York Giants fan, because I will always, always support the team that is from New York. But I didn't start to care about football until I was in college... in New England. Of course there's a special place in my heart for the Patriots.
But you really can't argue any of that with me. I get weird looks all the time for having those be my choices of teams, especially in New York. But I'm the super obnoxious sports fan who doesn't actually care about the sport unless I'm watching the game, in which case I'll cheer super loudly for whichever team I've picked.
The exception to this is, of course, my undying love for baseball and the New York Yankees.
The thing is, my view towards most sports is not an uncommon one. The phenomenon of "watching the Super Bowl for the commercials" is wide spread, and watching "the Big Game" has become an American tradition with foods and rituals almost on par with Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. It's such a popular tradition that it even gets celebrated a little across the world - when I was living in London, there was a huge Super Bowl party at Queen Mary, University of London.
(In all fairness, the QMUL Super Bowl party might have just been big that year because it was when Beyonce did the halftime show and she is a goddess. I really don't know for sure.)
So I was thinking about what it might be that makes us all care about this game so much when there's so little reason for us to do so. We don't seem to care about the teams; it's annually the single most most watched thing on TV. We spend 364 days a year trying to avoid commercials as much as we can. And it's not like eating wings and potato chips with beer is anything special.
Americans have a constant need to create things that are uniquely American. Maybe it's because our communal consciousness is determined to prove that we are more than the sum of our cultural parts. Maybe it's what naturally happens when you have a place that is designed to be a "melting pot" of cultures, peoples, and experiences. But we come out with new art forms, new traditions, and new facets of culture far more frequently than any other place on the planet. We certainly have our forms of music, dance, art, etc. that are American, just like India, China, Western Europe, et cetera do. But then we also created film. Television. Radio. Things with which everyone else has had to catch up. And we are the biggest consumers of them, as well.
There are other artists, the kinds who don't care about sports and have a Buzzfeed-type article titled "The Super Bowl as Explained to Actors" shared every year on their Facebook wall, who would decry my saying this. But I believe that the Super Bowl rests culturally on the same levels as do our great films and shows. And that's why it's so popular. It is, of course, a tradition. It is a way for us to come together with friends and have fun. But it is also a celebration of American greatness, of how much we can achieve as a people, and the kind of influence for good we can have in the world, if other peoples join in. Traditions, events, and holidays are every bit as much a part of our culture as our art.
It is entirely possible that I'm saying all of this and being super patriotic because I'm still binge watching The West Wing. (I'm at a point now where, based on the quote "What are you doing?" "Just... trying to get a little pizza in an uncivilized world." "It's not easy being you," I firmly believe that Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman understand me.) Or maybe I've just been missing my American history classes. Maybe it's just that this year's Super Bowl was a really, really fantastic game, and I'm still feeling the effects half a week later.
But I genuinely do believe that the Super Bowl is something special about American culture, and I love not just how it's celebrated, but how it celebrates us, and, like a Super Bowl McDonald's commercial would tell me to do, I'm loving it.