Steelers, ugly Americans and a hotdog allusion
The Steelers lost the Super Bowl yesterday and I don’t feel empty inside. This is strange.
Used to be, they lost a regular season game and I was pissed off the rest of the day. Lose a playoff game and I’m out for a week. I’m still pissed off – you’ve gotta make that throw to an open Wallace in stride, Ben – but I’d say my day was only really dark for about 15 minutes yesterday. Then I moved on.
What the hell happened to me?
I’ve always liked the communal aspect of sports. The ritual of Sundays spent with friends and football, the chaos of a Friday night in a sports bar, the obsession with trivial statistics and facts (Quick, where’d Phil Simms go to college? Morehead State.). Even using ‘we’ when talking about your favorite team. There’s a fair amount of literature comparing the ritual of sports to that of religion, and I’ve tend to agree with it. Hail Marys, Immaculate Receptions, The Church of Football and all that shit. Does that mean Franco Harris is as important to me as Moses? Maybe.
The Steelers always took it to a different level. I passionately cared about whether the guys in black and gold won or lost. The result was the important part. That, apparently, isn’t the case anymore. Watching the game was important to me because I know that simultaneously, my sister and her husband were eating nachos in Pennsylvania, my parents were at a sports bar in South Carolina, my grandpa was shaking his head and muttering “Jesus Christ” in his basement in Pittsburgh, my best friends were disgusted by the mistakes of both teams. I’ve been in the Philippines for a year and a half and stayed in minimal contact with most people from home, yet I can probably accurately guess what almost everyone I know was doing during the Super Bowl yesterday. There’s no other time I can say that.
Ultimately, whether the Steelers won or lost wasn’t the important part. I would’ve been a hell of a lot happier had they won. But for a few hours, I experienced the highs and lows of a close game with everyone I know, remembered all the other close games we watched together (here’s looking at your performance in the last Pats Super Bowl, Josh), and I could almost taste the Yuengling and chicken wings.
I pray because the connection to other Jews who utter the same words is important to me, not because I think everything hinges on the words. I guess I follow the Steelers so closely for the same reason. Regardless of where I am, I’ve got Steelers Nation and Hebrew Nation(al) and, strange as this may sound to non-sports fans, they’re both damn important parts of my identity.
Now, a side note to a certain demographic of older, white American males traveling abroad:
I understand that you’re trying to reclaim your youth. You want to stay out at bars all night and pick up girls and indulge in the hedonism that you’ve somehow come to associate with youth. I get it, I do. That’s probably why you deigned to visit a third world country in the first place. But your constant attempts at jokes about blowjobs and ‘coconut cracking legs’ are unbecoming. As are the sweeping comments on race you seem to find so insightful. Filipino waiters are not nine-years-old. Stop patting them on the head and talking to them as though they are. These things make me angry. Please, desist. Go home to your families.
As I walked away from the game yesterday, angry at the Ugly Americans and the game itself, I remembered a line from the new Tron and it made me smile. That’s when I realized that we would all, indeed, survive a Steelers defeat. You’re really killing my Zen, man.
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .