Somehow every year I wind up working Super Bowl Sunday at the store. Not surprisingly, people like to wait until the last minute to pick up their booze for their Super Bowl parties, so the place is bumpin’ most of the day. I absolutely love the store on days like that. When it’s busy, I can push all the madness and personal stuff out of my head and just not be a giant ball of anxiety for a few hours. All week, due to finances and some major issues between myself and the (Sometimes) Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend, my anxiety has been so bad that I couldn’t keep any food in me. It was a pretty rough week, and I was really looking forward to the madness of Super Bowl Sunday at the store and then eating nachos with AAB while we tried to stream part of the game (or I watched the drive chart on my NFL app since our USATV app crashed).
Now, I am not a huge sports fan. I have a favourite hockey team and a favourite football team. But because of work, I didn’t get to sit down and watch a certain team known to its fans as Da Bears play a single game this season. I follow my teams, but I can’t name all the players. I guess you’d say I’m a casual sports fan.
At work, I have a few coworkers who are hardcore into a few sports, mainly hockey and football. Two of my sweet little Kittens at work only watch championship games, like the Super Bowl, because there are big parties and food. A few others only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. And one or two don’t watch sports at all. We’re all cool with each other, and no one makes fun of anyone else for their love of sports, or for the total lack thereof. We all do that thing where we realize that each one of us is an individual person, with their own free thoughts and mind, and we are all not going to like the same things, so we respect each other’s likes and dislikes. You know, that whole “being a respectful adult” thing.
Now if only my other friends could manage that too.
Every year, at least two weeks before the Super Bowl, my Facebook gets flooded with anti-football memes. I don’t care about the memes themselves. If someone doesn’t want to watch football, they don’t have to. It’s this strange sense of intellectual entitlement that seems to come with these memes every year that really gets to me.
Now, to be clear, I love a good meme or pun. I absolutely adore every single post about the lack of bids at the Superb Owl this year. The “hey, why is there a concert during the Justin Timberlake concert” posts gave me a chuckle the first hundred times I saw them. And I have mad love for every single person who admitted through meme that the only reason they watch the Super Bowl is for the food and/or commercials. These are all done in good fun. The tone of these posts is more “look how fun I’m having, with this once a year event happening as the backdrop for the festivities”, focusing on the fact that they’re possibly watching the game, or the commercials, or just inhaling nachos at a rate previously unheard of in a human.
The posts that really sour my kraut are the ones that put everyone down.
I have close to a dozen friends who all seem to think that, because they don’t watch any sort of sporting events, they are somehow superior to the rest of us common folk who do. It’s not just a quick, “Well, I won’t be watching the Super Bowl today, does anyone else want to join me in doing [whatever the hell they have planned]” message on Facebook or an event invite to some alternative event during the big game. No, these friends of mine seem to have some sort of burning hatred for all organized sports and have this idea that they are somehow superior to anyone who is dumb enough to enjoy watching or playing anything. They seem to think that by not watching sports they are somehow smarter than the average person, and they love to make sure everyone knows that.
A person I once considered my best friend has this attitude. For the most part, we got along great. In fact, we were inseparable at times. We would get ready for parties together, have long movie and pizza nights, hang out between classes and all weekend, and even threw joint birthday parties together for years. We did pretty much everything together unless sports were involved.
She skipped every Super Bowl party, every hockey night (which is big here in Canada), and would only watch something sports related if one of our friends was actually playing and she didn’t have to stay too long. It never bothered me that she wouldn’t come to these events since I had others friends who were more than willing to watch games with me. What got to me was the attitude she gave everyone if they ever dared to ask her to come. It was one of those, “how dare you ask me, an Intellectual who can see through all this bullshit, to participate in your little game celebration” attitudes that just dripped with contempt for anyone who dared to enjoy themselves with such trivial things.
And you know what? Even this stupid attitude wouldn’t bother me much from her, or from others like her, if it wasn’t so in-your-face, I’m-right-you’re-wrong, look-how-much-better-than-you-I-am all the time. I wind up with more than a dozen of these “I’m too smart to watch the Super Bowl” posts in a row on Facebook for days at a time leading up to the damn game! These friends comment on other people’s posts about Super Bowl parties, mocking them for caring about something so trivial. Last year I even had one friend flat out tell me that I cannot possibly care about anything even remotely social justice related because I was going to go watch the Super Bowl at my parents’ house in order to check in on my brother who had just broken his knee in a horrible car accident!
The absolute worst of these Intellectual utterances comes from that once-close friend of mine. She somehow wound up as a writer for our university’s newspaper. Not content with reporting actual news or reviewing local bands, she decided that the entire student body needed to know that they had all been brainwashed into a very evil pastime: watching sports. She argued that anyone could be taught the skills needed to be a professional athlete, such as coordination and height. All sports leagues were inherently patriarchial in refusing women the chance to play, completely ignoring all of the female athletes who have either played in male-dominated leagues or have gone on to start their own female leagues. She even went so far as to say that sports are a lesser form of entertainment compared to music, art, and writing, because these grown adults “play” a game. If you can associate the word “play” with a form of entertainment, then it must be a lesser form than true entertainment such as the theatre.
Because we all know that playwrights who write plays, and the actors who play roles in such plays, would never dare have the word “play” associated with them.
Ok, so her stupid pointless opinion piece is a rather extreme example, but her and other friends have this exact same mindset when it comes to any sports event! I once posted on one of my social media accounts that I had two extra tickets to see my friend’s son play in a charity hockey match. Two separate people messaged me saying that they had better things to do than watch “idiots chase a puck”, and would be spending the night at home reading. It was a charity game full of 8-10-year-old kids!
I enjoy watching football. When I used to have to occasional Sunday off, I would throw on my Bears jersey, grab some beers, and head over to my parents’ place to watch Da Bears with mum while we ate polish sausage and kielbasa. I also read a lot, and have a massive pile of books to be read next to my desk (and another under the desk, and two more on the bookcase, and more books scattered throughout the house). I love older video games and could spend hours playing old-school Mario games on Nintendo emulators. I love documentaries, and action movies, and horror movies, and musicals. For the last few years, I’ve spent my birthday watching local musical theatre productions with the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. We play Pokemon GO on campus, while we talk about serial killers and criminological theories on crime. And I constantly have a variety of music playing, even in the shower. And you know what? None of these things makes me any better, any smarter, any dumber, or any worse off than anyone else.
The point is, liking or not liking something doesn’t necessarily make you a better person than someone else. Enjoying a sport doesn’t make you dumb, just like reading Jane Austen doesn’t make you smart. There are people out there who can do both! What really matters is what you do with your life, how you treat those around you, and what you can bring to the table when it comes to living your very best life. If all you have going for you is, “I don’t watch sports because an an Intellectual I would rather sit alone at home and read Jane Austen”, then maybe it’s time you took a good hard look at your life.