When You’re Not Watching The Super Bowl . . . .

Not watching the Super Bowl is kind of liberating.

You know that pretty much everybody else in America, from the President on down, is glued to the TV, either because they are interested in the game or they’ve bet on it or they want to watch the commercials or they think the halftime show could be interesting.  They’re all sharing in one of the very few common social experiences in our diverse, sprawling country.  Tomorrow, everyone at work will be talking about the game — or, more likely, about the commercials — but I won’t be able to join them.

I don’t care.  I’m tired of the prevalence, and glitz, and the over-the-top nature of professional sports, and I need to take a break.  The Super Bowl seems like a good time to start.  So, I’m listening to Verdi opera choruses and surfing the net, trying to get caught up on the latest developments in robotics.  For once, I don’t have to fake that I care about a simple football game that has been relentlessly pumped up into something that is grotesque and ludicrous.

It’s like when you’re in high school and you finally decide to stop trying to be popular and just be yourself, no matter how nerdy and out of it you might be.  When you make that call, the pressure’s off — and that can be very enjoyable.

Hoping The Ravens Get Crushed

When my team isn’t playing in the big game — which, given the Browns’ record of utter futility, means this rule applies to every one of the XLVII Super Bowls ever played — I usually root against one team, rather than for the other.  I pick the team that I despise the most and hope that they suffer a devastating, humiliating loss.  (I realize this makes me appear to be a small, highly negative person, but that’s probably an accurate depiction of my character, anyway.)

This year, the choice of which team to root against is easy.  I’m hoping that San Francisco beats the whey out of the Ravens.  I root against the Ravens because, on a grim, star-crossed day years ago, greed-addled Art Modell decided to follow the dollar signs and move the Browns franchise to Baltimore, thereby carving the beating hearts out of hundreds of thousands of loyal Browns fans.  With that fateful decision, the now-deceased Modell earned the opprobrium of all Browns fans for the rest of eternity.  I hope children born into the families of Browns fans for generations to come are taught to despise the sight and memory of Art Modell.

I also root against the Ravens because I abhor their carefully cultivated, bad boy image.  I loathe Ray Lewis and his histrionics, and it sickens me that he has the chance to end his career with a Super Bowl win — although the stories about his alleged use of deer antler velvet extract have taken some of the shine from Lewis’ time in the spotlight.  I hate the cheap shot tendencies of their defense and their showboating.  The Ravens are one of those teams that, in my book, epitomize just about everything that is wrong with professional sports these days.

I don’t care about the 49ers, or the match-up of the Harbaugh brothers, or any of the other story lines leading to today’s games.  Although I won’t be watching today’s game as a personal protest of the money-drenched, ugly culture of professional sports, I’ll be hoping the 49ers smash the Ravens and win the most lopsided Super Bowl in history.  I’ll be hoping that every 49ers fan shows up at the game wearing a full rack of deer antlers.  I’ll be hoping that Ray Lewis whiffs on countless tackles and gets stiff-armed to the turf a time or two.  I’ll be hoping that, at the end of the game, Ray Lewis and the rest of his thuggish Ravens teammates are shown on the bench, blubbering like babies at having been embarrassed in front of millions of TV viewers.

I need to give 49ers fans fair warning, however — the sports results I root for almost never happen.  This likely means that the Ravens will win tonight, and Ray Lewis will be the toast of sportsdom.  Ugh.

Like A Balding Man’s Scalp

IMG_3035We had some high winds when our latest winter storm rolled through town.  They knocked down twigs and small branches from the trees in our neighborhood, and the fallen debris was then partially covered with snow.  The resulting effect is unlike the standard, pristine blanket of snow we typically see.  Instead, our neighbor’s yard looks like the head of a balding man, with a few stray hairs marring the otherwise barren scalp.