I'm not normally proud of my daughter's ignorance, but this time my little oblivious girl living in her own little world made me beam.
"What's the Super Bowl?" Katie asked today in the hallway at church when she overheard my friend Sarah talking about her plans to watch the game.
She wasn't joking. Somehow this child has lived in the United States of America for over seven years without having an awareness of our national obsession.
It helps that neither Will nor I are big sports fans. I used to love to play neighborhood sports and basketball on a team, before my breasts grew so large it became painful for me to jump, even while wearing two sports bras. Just sitting there and watching others play usually bores me. Unless they're kids just having fun. I'd rather spend my time watching the neighborhoods kids play a half-assed game of kickball than watch professional athletes play by the rules to make lots of money for their owners. Owners? What the fuck? Too similar to slavery for me.
I once had a boyfriend who explained football fandom to me better than anyone ever could. I told him I don't like professional football. I explained how I don't like the concept of a team's owner, who is usually a white man, making money off the labor of his largely African-American team. And sure, professional athletes make tons of money. But they're also the ones doing the hard work. Owning a professional sports team today is about as difficult as it once was to be a plantation owner. But my boyfriend disagreed with me.
"I don't think of it that way. I think of football as a great way for men to burn off their natural aggression toward each other. Instead of going to war and rooting for one side to win over the other, meaning people were getting killed, we're playing games and rooting for one team to win over the other. Players get hurt, but they're less likely to get killed like a soldier, and everyone watching gets drunk and happy and hangs out with friends and family, just as civilians used to take picnic lunches and spread out blankets on the hills to watch military battles," he explained.
That, I get. I can understand the love of a good batch of homemade potato salad or coleslaw. I can understand boneless buffalo wings. I can understand beer. And hanging out with family and friends.
But why can't we play Frisbee? Or better yet, sit on our asses and play Scrabble?
Very few of my fellow Americans agree with me. That's OK. Katie and I can sit quietly off to the side playing Scrabble, Jr. while the rest of you watch men bash into each other, if that's what it takes to bring peace on earth. Just make sure and pass me a buffalo wing, won't ya?