So you may have heard there was a football game on yesterday.

Not really as monumental as Thanksgiving or Oscar night, but for those of us that track the game, kinda a nifty close to the season.

Now even before there was such a thing as fantasy football (until God clearly realized I needed more addictions) I was always a huge fan of Super Bowl Sunday. Big gathering, mounds of gooey food, beer when I was old enough, Coca Cola before I was, these are the things that make life delightful.

I don't know who said it, but:

"Remember . . .  no matter how bad it gets, you are now one day closer to your next plate of nachos."

Anyway, among the group this year were Jets fans, and Cowboys fans, Steelers fans, and the one Niner fan (this guy). However, not a single one of us were Patriot or Seahawk fans.

In fact, since those two teams happen to be the rivals of just about all the other favorited teams, it was a game everyone was watching, not to see who would win, but to root for someone to lose.

Being a west coast boy, I don't have much hate for New England, cause why would I care? And with all the Jet's fans in the room, nobody could care less about the ridiculous twelfth man if it meant that Brady gets sacked lots and lots and lots and lots.

But this isn't a blog about football (persay), it's about the peculiarity of a form of entertainment where one can be just as happy rooting against something. You don't go into a theater hoping that an actor you hate will flub their lines. You don't read a book of an author you don't like, being amused by how pedestrian their character development is and no one goes to a concert to see the opening act tank.

Yet, in sports, it's perfectly reasonable to experience a certain joy when a rival team, oh I don't know, gets the ball intercepted, especially when there was no earthly reason for them to call a passing play on 2nd and goal.

Schadenfreude, the german word for finding pleasure in another's misfortune, has to be a trait that is uniquely human. Evolution isn't exactly a spectator's sport, yet when the word is described to us, we know exactly what is meant. We know that emotion. It's written into all the epic tales from Achilies' heel to Darth Vader throwing the Emperor off the balcony. Hell . . . even Facebook is a thinly veiled platform for seeing how fat our ex-girlfriends got. (or how bald and underemployed the highschool quarter back became.)

Sure it's a negative emotion, but it's also a self-affirming one.  And after all the high fives are doled out, and the last of the beer is carted back to someone's fridge, it's possible to take a small step back, put on a pair of perspective glasses, and maybe learn something about your own fragility.

I kept rolling that last play in my head, the one where the Seahawks were on 2nd and goal and decided to call a passing play.

There didn't see any reason to it, and if not executed cleanly, which it wasn't, could wind up handing the other team the game, which it did.

Why would they do that?

What were they thinking?

Well, the answer is pretty easy. The other team knew there was no reason not to run the ball. And they were prepared for it. They practice that sorta thing hundreds of times, over and over. The only way to throw off their game is to do something unexpected, unprepared for. There's no way anyone would think they were gonna throw the ball, so that's what they did.

And, unfortunately, it wasn't successful, but it sure took a massive set of testicles.

So yeah, I'm probably never going to be a Seahawks fan, but I can't not hold them in high respect for taking chances that few would have the courage or the capacity to execute.

I guess the moral of the story is that we're going to experience morbid glee. Fine . . . whatever . . . and don't apologize for it. But it is possible, afterwards, to adopt your rival's failures as your own, and use that perspective to be a better human.

Your enemy's enemy might be your best friend, but it is your enemy who is your best teacher. 

1 comment:

  1. I think you should invent "Perspective Glasses" not that anyone who needs them would wear them.