• They might as well be wearing deerskins and carrying clubs

    by Debra DeAngelo

    I’m a traitor, I am. A regular Benedict Arnold. Why? Because it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I just don’t care. How much do I not care? I’d have to be in a coma to care less.

    This Sunday, while all patriotic Americans gorge on buffalo wings and gulp can after can of corn swill being passed off as beer, I’ll be doing something — anything — else. A hike at Cold Canyon. A movie or nice dinner out. Read a book or sip a nice oatmeal stout in the back yard. Contemplate my navel. Yes, even that sounds better than wasting a perfectly good Sunday watching football.

    It’s not just that football itself bores me to tears, it’s the whole maelstrom of hysteria and hype surrounding the Super Bowl in particular. I’m just not psychologically capable of caring about it. The Super Bowl has no meaningful or lasting positive impact on humanity. There’s no disease cured or problem solved. It’s not educational, inspirational or humorous. It’s just a big, grunting, chest-thumping testosterone fest.

    So. Not. Interested.

    And then there’s the Super Fans, frothing over the Super Bowl like it’s the freakin’ Second Coming. They wear team jerseys the entire month of January, paint their faces and bellies with the team colors on Bowl day, and have more team logo crap on their walls than photos of their kids, and roar, “We really stomped ‘em in the first half didn’t we!”

    Who is this “we”? You poor, sick, delusional fools, suckered into the marketing and the mythos, believing you’re part of the team. You’re not. Those overpaid buffaloes don’t know you from the mud they scrape off their cleats. You’re squandering your love and loyalty on air. Maslow was right. It’s a basic human need to belong to a group. It’s in our genes. Stick with the group wearing deerskins and bash the guys wearing bearskins. Grunting and bashing and beating up the other guys. We really haven’t evolved much.

    I even know a gal so obsessed with the 49ers that she had their logo tattooed on her calf. I wouldn’t have my husband’s face tattooed on my calf, and I actually love him. Let’s try and regain some perspective here, people.

    Thankfully, I’m not the only one who thinks Super Bowl madness is getting out of hand. I received a press release this week, entitled, “It’s Super Bowl Time: Can Your Body and Mind Take the Stress?”

    I’ll tell you what. If you can’t handle the mental and physical stress of sitting on a couch and watching a football game on TV, check yourself into the cardiac unit, the psychiatric ward, or both. You’ve got problems, my friend.

    The press release comes from Family Nurse Practitioner and University of Phoenix instructor Vicki Greenberg, who warns, “With the Super Bowl just days away, fans are gearing up for a day of excitement and drama, elation and heartbreak.”

    Excitement? OK, sure. Drama? That’s stretching it. But elation and heartbreak? Really? REALLY? If the outcome of a football game causes you either elation or heartbreak, two words: Get counseling. Or a life, maybe.

    Nurse Vicki goes on to note that some people are more prone to Super Bowl health issues than others (read: men), and the warning signs that things are escalating out of control include domestic violence.

    Sports Fan, if the only way you can only alleviate your frustration when your team loses is by punching your wife in the teeth, you’ve got issues. Maybe you should spend this Sunday at an anger management class instead of glued to the tube.

    I tried to call Nurse Vickie to interview her for more information, but couldn’t reach her, so I turned to Dr. Internet instead. Holy moly. Nurse Vickie was right.

    A story on the ABC news website warns, “the big game could be a heart-stopper, literally” and notes research suggesting that a Super Bowl loss might trigger a fatal heat attack.

    “’Fans can develop an emotional attachment to their favorite team,’ said Dr. Robert Kloner, professor of medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and director of research at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Heart Institute in Los Angeles. ‘And when there’s an emotional response, the sympathetic nervous system gets jazzed up and releases adrenaline, causing a surge in heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and an increased demand for oxygen by the heart.’”

    The story says Kloner and his colleagues discovered an increase in heart-related deaths in Los Angeles following the Rams’ 1980 Super Bowl loss, and then quotes Dr. Redford Williams, professor of medicine and director of Duke University Medical Center’s Behavioral Medicine Research Center: “Eating pizza and buffalo wings can raise the level of fat circulating in the blood and make circulation more sluggish. So when you do get angry and you try to pump more blood, your blood pressure is going to go up even more. We also know every drink above a couple increases your blood pressure.”

    Williams says when you feel frustration boiling over, you should ask yourself, “Is this situation important? Is this an appropriate reaction? And is there anything I can do to modify this situation?” to help put things in perspective.

    Right. That’s gonna happen. You don’t actually know any Super Fans, do you, Dr. Williams.

    “People should realize it’s not all that important and there’s nothing they can do to change it,” Williams said. “Take deep a breath and let it out. If that doesn’t work, say a prayer or sing a song. Say, ‘We’ll get them next year,’ and just let it go.”

    Pray and sing? When did they let the mentally ill start being doctors?

    Forget the Lord’s Prayer and the Kumbaya, Doc. It’s hopeless. It’s in their genes. Super Fans are beyond help, whether they’re wearing a Giants jersey or a deerskin.



    • This made me crack up. I have zero interest in the game as well. I literally watched my first football games in my lifetime in the last few weeks and I really don’t get what the thrill is all about. Take me outside to read a book will do it but now if I have money on a game then it is different. I will go to super bowl parties simply to eat and chat with anyone in the other room who doesn’t enjoy the game either.



    • I don’t even go to the parties… All the frenzy over the Super Bowl makes my soul cringe!


      • christy

      • February 6, 2012 at 7:42 am
      • Reply

      Love this! Football itself is a barberic game. I’ve seen beautiful young men wrecked physically by the game, ruining their lives, all for a sport. I have always been frustrated with how sports stars and actors get paid insane amounts of money for a job which provides entertainment where as teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses don’t get paid anything near that and they’re actually changing the world and saving lives! Our societal priorities are jacked up! Great column Debra!


      • Judy N

      • February 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm
      • Reply

      I loved this! So witty–so true! My daughter likes the super bowl because she enjoys making tiny hamburgers and model stadiums made out of rolled up turkey slices and vegetables. As far as the game goes, however, meh.



    • Debra – I’m not a Superbowl fan unless one of the teams I like is in it. To tell the truth, my connection with football is really my connection with the Colts when they were still in Baltimore, and watching the games with my parents in the late 50’s and early 60’s. It was a special family time and is associated in my mind with the smell of burning leaves and steak and potato latkes for dinner. I share Roy’s interest in the Jets each year, but I know that his love for them comes a lot from memories of his family, also.
      So sometimes it’s not the game, itself, but the memories of a time and a place when it was shared with people no longer here.
      At any rate — great column!



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