Every year I write an annual Super Bowl blog, which I think is only fitting, because I cannot overemphasize the ways and amount I do not care about the Super Bowl.
But it’s an American pastime, this sport which celebrates grown men jumping on each other until they cause traumatic brain injury, while spectators eat vast quantities of artery-clogging foods in the name of, well, I don’t know what it’s in the name of, really, but everyone seems to do it.
Me, after my obligatory mention of the only football players whose names I know – Joe Namath, Tim Tebow, and the Manning brothers – I’d like to talk with you about another American pastime, but one that seems to be in short supply these days, and that’s unity.
For a country with the word “united” in our name, we seem anything but that right now, so while we’re deciding which team to root for today, maybe we can also decide which team we’re rooting for every day and how we plan on making it known that we are doing so.
We’re okay with athletes making obscene amounts of money solely for our amusement, but teachers who shape the outcome of the people in whom our country’s future rests – no can do.
Surely, if we’re willing to don a jersey and yell and scream at the outcome, we can do that to secure that our next door neighbor can get medical care without losing their home.
Surely, we can put as much energy into protecting clean drinking water as we do into buying a six-pack.
And certainly, if we can stand up for our national anthem, we should stand up for those who cannot walk down a street in this country without their physical safety being threatened because of gender, race, or sexual orientation.
Surely, the pastime we celebrate must be about something greater than a bag of Doritos, a shiny trophy, and a trip to Disneyworld.
Enjoy a day on the couch, absolutely. But when it’s over, do something else American and take one action that helps a person or a cause outside of yourself. It could be anything – helping a neighbor with a physical task, volunteering at a shelter, visiting a local senior center one afternoon.
It is harder to be divided when you are helping someone who does not look like you. It is more difficult to be inhumane when you see the humanity in someone else.
My favorite American pastime is greeting a complete stranger, holding a door open, remembering that we are a community of friends, just passing through for a short time.
It doesn’t take that much effort to pass the kindness along with the chips and root for each other, because regardless of the jersey we wear, we are on the same team. All of us.