Life is a roller coaster of highs and lows. We all know this to be true, but what causes our ups and downs can be profoundly different.
I should probably be concerned that my highs and lows are tied to a rather violent game. Each year, my football joy starts with the first college football game played on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and builds to a crescendo of Super Bowl Sunday . . . and then there is nothing.
If I had a calendar filled with photos of me, February would show me slumped on my couch eating an entire box of Chicken in a Biskit crackers while crying softly. My hand would be on the remote as I surfed in search of anything that involves helmets.
This year I decided to break the seasonal pattern. First of all, I’m tired of entering the warmth of Spring with thighs built by Chicken in a Biskit.
I’ve realized that low points are unique to the individual. While I celebrate football and drop into the depths of depression once it’s over, my sister is exactly the opposite. She hates football. She hated it growing up when
her younger sister people would get mad and throw things at her when my their team lost. She is still furiously frustrated by the fact that seemingly intelligent people stare at a television screen for months on end. My sister throws a party AFTER the Super Bowl is played.
Perhaps ups and downs are built on the tightrope of perception.
This year, I’ve decided to shift my perception by gleaning lessons from the Super Bowl.
Lesson #1: Eating non-stop for 8 hours is fun, but has some negative repercussions. We started eating chili at 3:00 p.m. and didn’t stop eating until the last bite of Cheesecake was consumed at 10:50 p.m. The price paid was lethargy, heartburn, and a sleepless night. Totally worth it, but still a reminder that rarely do we benefit from excess.
Lesson #2: Friends
who appreciate the sanctity of football are the best. This year our house was filled with stories and laughter until kick-off. Then we watched with absolute vigilance, all running the gamut of emotions evoked by such a game. We were silenced by the power of Lady Gaga’s rousing rendition of our National Anthem, while simultaneously concerned about all that glitter on her eyelids. We laughed when I yelled “Cam is hurt – he’s leaving the field!!!” only to discover it was halftime and everyone was leaving the field. And we cheered for the power of Beyonce’s performance and the fact that she didn’t slip on that field even while dancing with heels. Ginger Rogers would have been proud. This year, more friends, less television.
Lesson #3: Actions really do speak louder than words. We all laughed when Peyton successfully led a 2-point conversion and the camera caught Eli Manning standing with his mouth slightly agape complemented by a look of absolute disgust on his face. His response, juxtaposed to the celebration of the rest of the Manning family, went viral. Poor Eli. He probably just had gas or something, and now it will haunt him forever. Maybe I pay more attention to how I respond to other people’s successes. Perhaps I cheer them on a little more visibly.
Lesson #4: Happiness is found not in a sport, but in the energy created by those who come together to watch it. That’s right. Go to a live football game, and you’ll find yourself high-fiving strangers and chest-bumping loud, drunk people. These are people you would never chest-bump if they were stumbling around Kroger on a normal day, but in a football game you enjoy every minute of it. I will stop seeking happiness in a game, and find it in the people around me.
So, thank you Super Bowl. The night was perfect. Our friends and family had fun. The food was delicious. Peyton Manning was given a reason to retire before permanently damaging his body, and the commercials made us laugh.
My slump didn’t have a chance to get started. And it was good.
Except for the puppy-monkey-baby commercial. There’s not a crowd large enough to erase that creepy thing from my memory.