What a difference a year makes. I sat in my living room and watched the Super Bowl. The important feature of that last sentence is the verb. Not "watched" but "sat." The year before, I paced wildly about the kitchen and living room, with side trips to each bedroom and still managed to see most every play. I was on my feet for all of SB L. When SB LI rolled around, I was relaxed and confident in the pot of chili we had simmering on the stove. I knew where the chips were, and I had baked cookies with M&Ms in them. A year ago, I remember eating, but mostly as a function of moving about the house. Chewing was punctuation.
The fiftieth Super Bowl was emphatic. Fifty-one was resigned.
Months ago, when it became apparent that there would be no title defense from the Denver Broncos, I looked around the league for a bandwagon upon which I could hop. Maybe it was the overall lack of enthusiasm America had for the National Football League this year. Perhaps our minds were consumed with other things. Maybe after fifty-one years some of the mystery is gone.
Or it could be the mood levelers. The fact that I have been medicated throughout this football season may have something to do with my less than ecstatic reaction to the events that have unfolded over this football season. The peaks and valleys in the Autumn of 2016 have not been as extreme. There has been plenty of joy, and a little despair, but overall professional sports have not held the same kind of vicarious allure they once did. And growing older couldn't hurt. The annual cycle from training camp to Super Bowl repeats itself with such fluidity that I have to review my Roman numerals to keep it all straight.
This does not keep me from being a fan. It keeps me from being a fanatic. This does not keep me from cheering for this team or that, but knowing that my interests are essentially arbitrary in the big picture, I will try and keep my eyes on the prize. Not the Lombardi Trophy, but the continued ability to enjoy life to its fullest regardless of the outcome of some over-hyped sports spectacle. Those are the winners: the ones who are enjoying their lives no matter what the point spread is. Your limbic system still needs a workout, so pick a team and start rooting. But remember: It's only a game. A great big, expensive, lavishly produced game with millions of dollars riding on it.