So, the Super Bowl was yesterday, and I had an amazing time watching it. Partly because I’ve lived in the Kansas City area since the second grade and I’m now 53. I’ve been hearing about the amazing Chiefs appearing in the first Super Bowl and winning the fourth one. Len Dawson was the sports reporter on the local news for ages. I know rationally that it wasn’t my victory in the Super Bowl, but fuck that, I feel like a winner today anyway.
But it wasn’t just that my Chiefs won. The spectacle of the Super Bowl was absolutely enthralling. For the last several weeks, the majority of people that I’ve run into in public have been wearing Chiefs gear. The excitement has been contagious. And then we get to the actual game and the broadcast that goes with it!
I’ve been feeling really terrible about America for the last few months as our government makes us look bad on a daily basis. The Super Bowl, on the other hand, made me quite proud and optimistic.
The “take it to the house” kid and the film that went with his delivery of the game ball was a thrill to watch. Action movie adrenaline kicked in as he pinballed down the streets of our cities. Then there was the quiet moment, when he stopped at the Pat Tillman statue to honor his memory. Hell of an opening presentation by the NFL.
Once the ball was delivered, then there was the separate joy of watching the military color guard bring in the flags, and the joyous sound of America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner.
Even more pride in our history and country as the four 100-year-old WWII veterans were introduced as special guests, and the Tuskegee airman presented the commemorative coin for the coin toss. We got to honor those who serve us in the military and we got to see how far we’ve come in overcoming racism since then.
Hell, all the commercials were a rebuke of the terrible crap that I’ve been hearing about my country over the last few years. It turns out we’re not a bunch of racist homophobes after all. Ellen Degeneres did a great commercial with her wife for Amazon. And black and brown people were all over the place in the commercials too. We’ve really come a long way since my youth, and it was a delight to see.
Once the game got started, I could hear the Chiefs war chant in the background quite frequently. I’m not quite sure to make of that. I’m told that Native Americans find it to be cultural appropriation and racist, but as an old white guy, I’m less inclined to see it that way. Hell’s bells, are the Minnesota Vikings going to have to change their name to stop appropriating the culture of ancient Scandinavia? To me, the Tomahawk Chop is a cheer to honor the reputation of the aboriginal American tribes as great warriors. People can take that as an insult if they want, or they can be like those of Scandinavian ancestry who can be proud of their Viking heritage. Frankly, it was a joy to me to hear all those people chanting in unison, kind of like the YouTube video of an Arrowhead crowd singing Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” in unison.
Then there was the half-time show. Holy crap, that was a whole lot of beautiful women. And the two stars were middle-aged moms who refused to be shamed for their sexuality. They also proudly displayed their Hispanic heritage with many of their lyrics in Spanish, and with J-Lo coming out wearing a double-sided flag with the US on one side and Puerto Rico on the other. Again, this is not something I could have imagined happening back during the last Chiefs Super Bowl appearance.
Once half-time was over, there was the drama of the ball game. Athletes celebrating their prowess when they performed well. I even loved it when the 49ers all gathered to celebrate one of their big plays posing for the crowd at the edge of the field. I was worried that my Chiefs weren’t going to be able to perform a miracle comeback three games in a row, but I was gladly proven wrong.
Once we took the lead, the celebrations here in KC started. I let the dogs out the backdoor to do their business, and I could hear the fireworks coming from every direction. I spent the last few minutes of the game standing on the back porch watching the game through the open door and enjoyed the noise.
When the game was over though, the noise really started. The neighbors two doors down set off several rockets. A couple of people even stopped their car in the middle of my street, got out with Chiefs flags, and ran up and down the street shouting. The shouting was coming from everywhere.
It was fucking amazing to see the spectacle of hope, joy, and athletic prowess in the game, the half-time show, and the commercials, and it was pretty damn cool to hear all the celebrations here in the neighborhood 10 minutes from Arrowhead.
Yesterday was awesome, and today has been pretty damn good too. Thank you to the Chiefs and the NFL for providing me with an attitude adjustment.