The Superbowl 52 or #stupidbowl as I am choosing to call it has come to the city I live in. I have been living in Mexico for the last two months going to a yoga school and spending important time staring at the Caribbean Seas. I have returned to my home base for two short and very cold weeks. It is bone chilling cold. My face hurts. My poor planning has managed to place this brief time at home during the very cold two week hoopla and hullabaloo that is the Superbowl. I am ignoring it as best I can.
Today is Friday, I finished a lot of errands today and I am not leaving my house until at least Tuesday. I will venture to yoga classes at a nearby studio and also join some friends for lunch far from the maddening crowds. Stupid Bowl Sunday I will be home not paying attention.
NPR reports that a packing plant in Tancitaro, Michoacan had to ramp up production 50% to meet the demand for Superbowl Sunday. It is estimated that more than 200 million avocados will be eaten on Sunday. So I am thinking about how sports has had no real or positive impact on my life. Wait a minute, I saw avocados priced at $4.99 at a local specialty store. These thoughts are sending me down the rabbit hole and it is interesting to reflect on a life where sports was never, ever integral. Just as I never defined myself by the work I did to make money (my career) I have also never defined myself by any allegiance to sports teams. I do even want to understand the psychology fanatic behavior.
I grew up on the north shore of Chicago, actually one suburb off the lake, in a completely middle class multi builder subdivision nestled between corn fields on the outskirts of the village center and adjacent to a Naval Air Base. It was the kind of neighborhood where the school bus picked you up at the end of your driveway and if you weren’t waiting they would honk the horn. I had absolutely no sense of the world as a whole or the big bustling city that was 24 miles to the south of me. I learned about that and many other things when I left high school a semester early and tramped off to university two weeks after the winter holidays of 1973. I was only 17.
There is very little of sports that has infiltrated in my life. I grew up with Chicago Cubs baseball playing in the garage on the radio at my father's work bench. My grandmother who live in a tiny upstairs apartment in my aunt and uncle's house in Milwaukee would sip coffee and listen to the radio broadcast of the Milwaukee Braves (before they moved to Atlanta) in 1966. I remember Thanksgiving dinners in the overcrowded homes of my aunt and uncles, people eating on metal TV trays and drinking and smoking. There always seemed to be endless football blaring on the tube.
In elementary school I hated gym class and anything that had to do with team sports. I was always the kid that got hit first with the dodge ball and could never throw it far enough to even imagine hitting anyone. I hated competition and participated as marginally as I could. I went to Wrigley Field a few times and sat in the $2 bleacher seats with the bleacher bums. That was fun. I never played any team sports. I speed skated for fun. I roller skated. I studied ballet, tap and modern and jazz dance. I was in the ski club which made bus trips to Alpine Valley and Wilmot Mountain both over the border into Wisconsin. I liked camping. I liked the solitude of the Illinois Forest Preserves. I love watching barges go through a lock and dam or moving cargo down a river.
In high school before I started working, we would get dropped off to go to the school football game. We would climb under the bleachers and out the fence to go mess around in the fields behind the school. Then we would climb back into the fenced stadium in time for some parent that would pick us up. We would always be sure to know who won, although we could have cared less. I went to the same high school as John Hughes, The Breakfast Club (ending scene) and Ferris Bueller's Day off. I liked art and expressive activities like dance and music. We ate bags of french fries from Little Louie's across from the village park. I liked to ride my boys royal blue Schwinn bike with those road bike matching blue taped handlebars. I worked in a record store for a short while, started my album collection, worked in the flower market at a grocery store and drove a Carmen Ghia.
At university, I tried to go to one football game and for two years I actually lived across the street from the stadium. I was cold and I am sure I didn’t make it to the end of the game. I never cared for peppermint schnapps and never understood the concept that peppermint liquor could keep you warm.
My boyfriend came from the south side of Chicago. He was a south side Irish Catholic through and through. When people asked where he grew up, he would say what parish he was from. He came from a blue collar father, a stay at home mom, had 5 siblings all crammed into what my mother called a brick crackerbox. While he didn’t really follow the Chicago White Sox, I got to learn about north side and south side rivalry at least when it came to baseball. The south side boys drove me 87 miles from DeKalb to a White Castle one night because they couldn’t believe I had never had a slider. It was there, on the south side on another occasion, on a hot summer night in 1976 in which I witnessed my first (and only) drive by shooting. We were standing outside a French Restaurant (of all things) somewhere not too far from 85th Street and South Kedzie. Not much time or money for spectator sports around this hood at the time, just a lot of Irish Catholic girls named Mary Rose, Mary Ellen, Mary Dell, Mary Elizabeth, Mary Margaret and that went on and on and on.
So here I sit in my home on an insanely cold Minnesota winter weekend where people are paying outrageous amounts of money for tickets to a sport event, paying inflated hotel prices and escalated uber fares, over eating, over drinking, over spending, attending all kinds of parties, making money, spending money and there are 2000 national guard soldiers in town to keep everyone feeling safe. Anyone else find this odd?
Whatever the outcome of the “game” no one’s life will really change except for those whose pockets get lined by the almighty dollar. In my humble opinion, this football is religion to the masses and Sunday’s service will be fueled with decadence, the ugly kind not the fun kind. The weary will awaken on Monday, tired for sure, probably hungover and their morning alarm will come early and it will be loud.
It’s just not for me. I’ve never been a very good sheep. Don’t know, don’t care. I am happy to be engaged in the life I have. We are packing to leave on an epic camper-van trip to the the south west states, packaging some art we made to deliver to friends in Houston, cooking an amazing pot of vegan vegetable soup, playing guitar, singing songs, watching movies and sipping a warm cup of tea.
“Many go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after”
~ Henry David Thoreau