Friday, January 31, 2014

Please Don't Kill My Super Bowl Vibe

"I am sinner, who's probably gonna sin again. Lord forgive me, Lord forgive me things I don't understand."

Lyric from: B****, Don't Kill My Vibe from the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Written By: Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Spears, Robin Braun, Vindahl Friis, Lykke Schmidt
Performed By: Kendrick Lamar 

Photo: Richard Sherman and Peyton Manning, courtesy of John Leyba/Getty Images

It happens in two days and, I hope I can enjoy it in peace.

And since the "it" I'm referring to is the Super Bowl, "in peace" is defined here as a room full of excited, loud and rowdy football fans arguing over the ref's last call, who ate the last seasoned wing and who cut that last book.

Yes, that's how I take my Super Bowl Sundays, thunderously done with a lot of friends, chicken and some rise and fly Spades on the side.

On the heels of an American tragedy, however, our take on sports is that they are our ever-dependable great escape, the endearing pastimes that unify a nation and help us to forget our troubles for a brief moment. 

And I do mean a very brief moment.

The fact of the matter is that the sports landscape has, over time, become a very fertile breeding ground for examination of the most troubling ills of society and, very often, what we learn about each other in the process doesn't feel very endearing at all.

It is too much to ask, though, that I don't have to learn any of that stuff for Super Bowl XLVIII?

Listen, I know, I'm part of the problem. I've used this sports blog to scrutinize human behaviors and perspectives but, it only took 12 days (and counting) of non-stop discussion of Richard Sherman to help me understand that I need a break from all that.

I know that racism is still an issue in this country so I didn't need the Sherman incident to let me know how divided we're still falling.

Jesse Jackson once famously said something to the effect of if you don't know you're black when you wake up in the morning, you will most certainly know it by 5 p.m. This has indeed been true in my life but, I hate when my love of sports exposes me to the perpetrating proof point of the day. 

Worse yet, our dissection of the Sherman incident has forced me to consider all sorts of new and decidedly un-fun stuff these past two weeks on the countdown to my favorite Sunday of the year, the most comical of which has been whether being black makes me more prone to obnoxious, boisterous and braggadocious celebrations. 

It has been a contemplative few years in sports as a whole. Murder suicide, bullying and homophobia paired with the usual domestic violence, PED and drunk driving suspects have revealed sports' true cultural relevance as one that, instead of an escape from, is really a national platform for reality. 

But a girl can dream right? And right now I'm dreaming about hearing someone utter the age-old canned response of "it's all about the game" and then having all of the sports fans in the universe conspire to make that statement one of fact for Sunday's mega event.

But just in case you need a little guidance, here are two more things I will be very happy to not have to learn on Sunday:

1) If Denver loses: Peyton Manning has a psychological proclivity for losing big games. 
(Maybe Seattle was just better that day.)

2) If Seattle loses: The "black quarterback" style of play can't win the big game. (Maybe Denver just had a better game plan.)

In the end, I'm hoping we'll be discussing Xs and Os. 

I know, that is wishful thinking but, sometimes dreams come true.

And for Sunday's victor, Super Bowl XLVIII will be proof of that-- even if it comes with some tough lessons learned along the way.