Let me start with a full disclosure. I have never watched an entire Super Bowl game. Not until Sunday. Somehow I managed to skirt the entire sport, and though I probably did show up at the odd Super Bowl party in my 20s just because some of my friends were going, I don’t recall sitting and watching a whole game. (Though I am ready to admit that detail could be — like my ’80s permed hair and massive shoulder pads — lost in the mists of time.)
Part of my excuse is that I lived in the U.K. for 11 years, which explains why I can spend 90 minutes watching men kick a ball back and forth across a field and not expect anyone to score.
In the interests of me trying to break out of my old habits and explore things beyond my comfort zone (call it trying to live beyond the bubble — we all live in bubbles, after all), I thought I’d actually watch the game with my husband while taking down the Christmas decorations (don’t judge).
I went into the experience with an open mind, and admittedly very scant information. (At one point I did ask where the Patriots are from. Apparently, the answer is hidden in the team name.)
I do know something about Tom Brady because he was accused of deflating balls and because he’s married to a supermodel. And I did go to the Patriot Saloon in Manhattan recently, but it’s more about cheap beer than football and since it’s just across the Brooklyn Bridge, it may be more closely connected to the American Revolution when British forces defeated patriot forces under General George Washington at the Battle of Brooklyn. They pull a good pint of Guinness there, just FYI. But I digress.
So, I settle in to watch the game, but after about 20 minutes trying to get excited about it, I realize even the announcers are having trouble mounting any enthusiasm. And it’s then I realize I have the entire Sunday New York Times waiting for me on the coffee table and I haven’t even cracked it open yet.
So I confess I tried a double-screen experience: one eye on the TV, and one eye on the NY Times. (And no eye on the still fully decorated Christmas tree.)
But honestly, I don’t get the hype. I liked all the cool camera angles … if only they had some exciting plays to follow. I had heard the hype about the ads, so that was a bright spot to look out for. Except today, I can’t remember a single one. Oh — wait — I remember hearing that Budweiser isn’t made from corn syrup. Whaattt????
By the time half time rolled around, I was in the car going to pick up my son. I guess I kind of gave up. We both wanted to watch the half-time show because surely that was going to rev up the afternoon. So my husband PVR’d it and when we got back we tried. We really tried. By the time Adam Levine had stripped to his brown-spotted sleeveless undershirt, I was in the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies and my son was yelling at the TV, “What is he even wearing?”
He did — however — recognize Sicko Mode immediately when Travis Scott performed, knowledge that I hope transfers to me and helps up my street cred.
Otherwise, what can I tell you? It was a deflating experience.
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At the end of the game, we weren’t even paying attention anymore. I had picked up the NY Times again and was reading about how some women in Nepal still feel they have to hide themselves away in huts when they are menstruating because they are considered unclean, and several women have died in those huts when they light fires to try to keep warm. How can that be, in 2019? How can there still be places in the world where not only is the Super Bowl like a distant, unreachable galaxy they’ve never heard of, but the amount of money spent on it and the players would build thousands of homes for people who have none and could help elevate the lives of girls and women living in places like Nepal?
So, thanks Super Bowl. I tried to burst out of my bubble. But this time, I failed.
And I still haven’t taken down the Christmas decorations!
Maybe it’s best if I leave them up and try all this again next year.
Award-winning journalist Dawna Friesen is the anchor and executive editor of Global National, the flagship national newscast for Global News.