I have concerns. I am a football fan – always have been. I was raised in a “sport’s fan family.” Baseball, football, basketball and hockey – we watched on TV or attended games if we were lucky enough to get tickets from friends or family who bought the season.
In middle school, I had a friend whose brother played for the Bears. On very rare occasions I was included in conversations around their breakfast room table about the preceding Sunday’s game.
I think that was when football became my favorite.
Did you see the Bears' game last Sunday? We won masterfully. Do we really have a great quarterback in the making? Aah, if only!
But, analysis of the game aside – as I watched touchdown after touchdown, great defensive play after great defensive play, I began thinking about what was happening after the plays were made. It has become the norm for all sorts of jubilant machinations to ensue when a good play is made.
There was an ecstatic, and I must say perfectly executed back flip – really? And the not uncommon jumping up on, then straddling the wall to be embraced by fans – OUCH!
I wanted to scream “Are you nuts? What are you doing. You could get hurt. You could end your career!”
Less extreme were the victory dances, seemingly rehearsed congratulatory handshake routines, and the commonly seen helmet bumps.
Even though they brought a smile to my face – who doesn’t smile at such youthful exuberance – I began to think about something very different about the displays. They became a commentary, in my mind, of something far more expansive than merely the actions in sports arenas.
What has happened to humility in our culture?
All of the great players of the past piled up their records with no drama, no dancing, no gymnastics; they showed a humility that is simply lacking in sports today.
And, it’s not just sports. Media figures, politicians, performers – there just seems to be more of the “I am great…watch me” about their actions and attitudes than ever before, and I fear our youth are being affected negatively by it.
Am I nitpicking? I can find no substantive data, but I truly think this “aren’t I great” attitude just can’t be good for society as a whole.
As so often, I think of my grandmother and her no-nonsense, common sense approach to life. On the one hand I can envision her sitting beside me watching last Sunday’s game and smiling at the antics. Who wouldn’t smile. It’s entertainment – fine. But, I wonder if she would see it as a reflection of a more serious trend, as I do.
All of that considered – watching the game, cheering on the Bears to a wonderful victory was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And maybe I should leave it at that.
I can hear my grandmother telling me in her no-nonsense voice to “Get over it. Stop analyzing. Enjoy it. After all, it is just a game.”