If you are a true football fan, today is THE day to be glued to your couch, chips in one hand and an adult beverage in the other. For some people, this ritual includes hanging out with like-minded souls, which I actually don’t like because it’s hard to watch a game in a mixed crowd. By mixed, I mean people who want to watch the game and people who only want to watch the commercials.
By the way, when did the Super Bowl commercials begin to suck so much? I remember as recently as five years ago, there were some laugh-out-loud funny ones. Now, they are mostly sophomoric and cringe-worthy.
Anyway, back to The Game. I have been a huge sports fan for fifteen years. I don’t know how it started or why, but after college, I became obsessed. I am a homer all the way, so it was the Twins, the Timberwolves, and the Vikings for me. I have grudgingly come to accept the Wild, but I still hate Dallas for stealing our team and changing their name. Although, it’s better they DID change the name because the Dallas North Stars would have made as much sense as, well, the LA Lakers.
Anyhoo, I used to read ESPN and SI on a daily basis, along with UniWatchBlog because I was fascinated by the variations in unis that I saw while watching the games. Paul Lukas started UniWatch at ESPN, and he launched the blog a few years ago. If you are obsessed with trivial uni matters, this is the blog for you.
However, about a year ago, I noticed something strange. My enthusiasm for sports had been slowly, but steadily decreasing. It started when I could no longer shut my eyes to the rampant misogyny that courses through all of sports. Most of the writing is geared towards men and is sometimes insulting to women to boot. The commercials are definitely aimed at heterosexual males, and even the blathering of the announcers seems tailored for the male ear.
Paul’s blog was the only one (at that time) where I commented, and I was one of a handful of women. I was also one of the only Asian Americans. Let’s not talk about bi, either. Sports is also the last bastion of homophobia–well, besides fundamental religion, that is. I got tired of reading homophobic, sexist, and racist comments on a daily basis–and Paul’s readers are probably the least Neanderthal-like of the men who watch sports.
I also was disgusted about how Janet Jackson’s nipple drew so much outrage. I missed the moment because I had decided to get a snack (halftime is usually boring), but I got to see the pixelated replay over and over and over again, accompanied by the forced shock on the faces of the anchors who had to make it perfectly clear that this breast was not acceptable. Parents called in to complain about disturbing a ‘family show’, which is the height of comedy considering that they were watching a game where grown men hit each other with brutal (but artistic) grace. They were watching commercials that objectified women or made fun of them. Protesting Janet’s nipple was a bit hypocritical in my eyes. Besides, why did no one criticize Justin Timberlake who was the one ripping off her breast patch? Janet was canceled from performing at the…Grammys, I think, because of the incident, whereas Justin got off scot-free. That really made me mad and more aware than usual how fucked up we are (still) about women and sexuality, and how sports tend to enforce those stereotypes.
So, I quit reading the comments and commenting on a daily basis. I still read Paul’s column faithfully, but I steered clear of the comment section for the most part. I also quit reading ESPN and SI. I used to watch any game that was on TV, in part because I don’t have cable so I don’t get to watch that many games. I didn’t care if it was the Lakers vs. the Celtics or the Lions vs. the Browns. If it was on TV, I was watching it. Now, I don’t watch a game unless I have a vested interest, and I have been known to turn off a game that isn’t holding my attention.
I never was a stats geek, but I used to keep up on who was doing what in which sport. I don’t do that any longer. When I got swept up in Obama-mania in the fall, I lost all interest in sports except for the local games and a few other teams. I replaced sports with politics and although I am burning out a bit on the latter, I find it a much more satisfying obsession than sports.
I am also mad at how privileged the world of pro-sports is. As I have blogged about previously, Carl Pohlad managed to get his bailout (for the Twins) before dying, and there are approximately seven hundred and twenty-three things that are more worthy of that money right now. In general, I am tired of the whining in sports about how a million is not enough for–I’m not sure. I always stop reading at this point.
It also pisses me off that fans are so bone-crunchingly macho when it comes to sports. I was reading about Rafa beating Roger in the Australian Open–by the way, it’s a major. Please, please, can’t the networks broadcast it?–and Roger breaking down and crying during the trophy presentation. The comments on the article, in HuffPo no less, bothered me a great deal. Some of them said Roger had to ‘man up’ and not let Rafa get in his head. Others sneered at Roger for crying so much about losing. WTF? When you want something so badly, to miss it by so little is heartwrenching. As someone who cried when she lost a spelling bee (don’t ask), I can totally relate to Roger breaking down. Big. Fucking. Deal. So the man shows some genuine emotion–get over it. First, the fans deride him because he’s emotionless and boring. Now, they get on his case for showing emotions.
So, you are probably guessing that I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl after my little rant. Well, surprise! I am. Why? Because the Steelers are my second favorite team (because they wear black. Yes, I chose my second favorite teams based on the color of their unis. So sue me), and I want to see them trounce the Cardinals. I am also watching because Troy Polamalu is teh hotness personified. I only posted one pic of him because I couldn’t find other free-use photos. The photo shown here is not very good. Here is a link to his Google image search. Please note the cover of SI pic–he is….yum…..
So, go have a blast at your Super Bowl party. I will be watching with my finger on the mute button (I HATE John Madden), eyes firmly glued to Troy Polamalu’s hair. GO STEELERS!