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Saturday, April 20, 2024
The Observer

Super Bowl Sunday "Culture Tantrum"

This weekend is the Super Bowl. You know this. I know this. Everyone in the English speaking areas of North America knows this. And, let's face it, it's getting about as much press coverage as Egypt right now. Because, you know, the impending geographical riots between those who pack and those who steel is far more relevant to our lives than the truly violent riots going on in one of America's most important allies in the Middle East. Not that I'm passing judgment at all, because if the world operated according to my wants and needs, we would spend all national news focusing on the halftime show, not the quarterbacks.

How dare! You sin! For shame! That any Notre Dame student would speak out against the – ahem – Super Bowl of Super … is something unforeseen. Let me explain. I knew nothing of football before I arrived at McGlinn in August 2007. My knowledge of the sport consisted of that which I gathered in between spoonfuls of artichoke dip when my father (who never watches football) insisted on watching the Broncos the two times Denver went to the championship, and whatever was picked up driving around a car purchased from John Elway Toyota.

My first Notre Dame game (after my head stopped spinning from all the Irish gear in varying shades of blue, green and gold) was spent learning the finer points of why the lines of men were moving back and forth across the field with no discernable pattern, under the tutelage of a sophomore who had been drinking the Kool-Aid far longer than I. After four years, I do understand most of what happens on the field, though whenever those little yellow strips come flying from the zebras I moan and yell crass nothings to the air before turning to the closest male and ask under my breath, "What happened? Was that good? Who did it?"

College football, you've won me over and been mastered. But this other stuff, this big stuff, with Hydro domes and billions of dollars and endorsements, I have no idea how it works. The game itself, sure. But the mania surrounding it is lost on me. I have no connection to Green Bay. I can't even tell you what state it is in. ("Wisconsin, you idiot!") And I drove through Pittsburgh … once. I understand the legions of Midwesterners donning oversized (and overpriced) jerseys to support their team. But I, personally, will be watching for the commercials and the halftime show. Call me a sinner, but at least I'm still watching.

I do commend the efforts that the media lords have put in to making the Super Bowl not Super Boring: commercials that represent billions of dollars invested in my own amusement, a halftime show featuring those crazy kids who provided the baseline for last year's pop mash up from DJ Earworm, and an overabundance of sappy storylines that will guarantee I cry at least twice during the telecast (especially when the captain of the winning team lifts his son into his arms at the end of the game). So when I turn to the television at 6:30ish on Sunday, after dorm Mass, moved to accommodate the hordes who would have gone without had Mass stayed in the evening, I will calmly suck up the fact that I am not so interested in the football. I will perpetuate the cliché. I will remain … Irish.


The views expressed in this column are those of the authors and not necessarily those of The Observer. Stephanie DePrez can be contacted at