As you may or may not be aware, some people contested a football game this evening, Super Bowl 42, or Super Bowl The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. A bunch of other people watched, presuming the contest held the meaning of life. Some thoughts:
1. I haven't been outside, but the mood of the city seems more like quiet shock than real rage. After so many years of tragic failure or just plain ineptitude, some Boston sportos have in recent times grown so used to success that they were blindsided by the Pats finally not winning. A lot of people just never considered the possibility that this Patriots team could ever lose, and now have this sort of befuddled look, like "We lost? What do you mean we lost?"
2. It's nice that fate has several narrative structures from which to choose. Everyone assumed after New England's miraculous escape against the Baltimore Ravens that metaphysical destiny simply would not allow this team to lose. I felt that way watching them, even when they struggled in the playoffs. But one could feel the winds of change during the SB, and it turns out the fate-script was the old-fashioned "look unstoppable and then derail over the last hurdle."
3. I assume everyone will spend the next week mocking Bill Belichick for running off the field in failure before the actual end of the game. What caught my attention more was Tom Coughlin. Even as he enjoyed the Gatorade bath and the last few seconds tick away, drill sergeant Tom looked tepid. Perhaps he simply isn't capable of anything more than a smirk. But as I watched him, I felt bad. I mean, this man had devoted his entire life to working 80-hour weeks, screaming at players, getting mocked by the media and nearly losing his job last year. Today is the greatest day of Tom Coughlin's life, the apex of all that sacrifice, and he looked...tepid. I imagine him going home tonight, having a glass of wine with the wife and going to bed, dreaming of doing battle next season.
Coaches of championship teams always say the next season that the championship doesn't matter anymore and the team has to forget about it. But I bet insane coaches like Belichick and Coughlin forget almost immediately. Maybe they take a week to celebrate reaching their life's pinnacle, but the blood lust reawakens and nothing is ever enough.
4. One last word on religion and sports. If there really were a God, He would find football repugnant. So when players on both sides are praying for his blessing, he's actually yelling back, "Stop hitting each other!"
5. I'm more saddened by back-to-back Mannings winning the Super Bowl than I am by the Patriots' loss. If Hillary wins in November and serves out a full term, it will reach 24 years we'll have had either a Clinton or Bush in office. This family nonsense has got to stop.
6. This isn't the first year I've complained about what a soulless schmuck-fest the Super Bowl is, but I'll pat it on the back for this reason: The Super Bowl always makes me feel great that the football season is finally over. Autumn and early winter are always a struggle for me; I grew up with football and feel attached to it, but frequently find myself repulsed and wishing to be above it.
It fits in nicely with my hypothesis on seasonal rhythm. You never want to become so attached to one season that you mourn its passing. Love each one for what it brings, but hold enough contempt in your heart that you're glad when it's gone. Football is the same way. Now, at the end of the season, I'm glad it's gone.