Archive for February 2016
Let’s get this straight: I don’t much care for the NFL. I’ve had enough of the domestic violence, the buried concussion research, the cheating franchises, and the bumbling commissioner who can’t do much of anything about much of anything. This is to say nothing of the corrosive effect football has on public education, which I know a thing or two about. I’m as equally leery about nostalgia and its impact on professional sports franchises, especially here in Chicago. The problem in these parts is so chronic that most that people don’t realize that 1060 W. Addison has been the city’s designated nostalgia zone for generations and nobody has done much about it up until about two years ago. I’ve written about both these ideas in the past (here and here), but here I am considering both of them again. It feels awkward, but come this afternoon, I’ll be tuning into the Super Bowl, and my cheering preferences will be firmly rooted in nostalgia.
First, from the perspective of a less-than-casual fan, Carolina will likely run over Denver. I won’t be surprised to see a 20+ point blowout. It won’t bother me a whole lot if that happens, but I hope it doesn’t. I’m pinning my hopes on Peyton Manning and the notion that the old man has one last win in him. I’m sure I’m not the only man of a certain age or older who has pinned his hopes on #18. I don’t think it’s unusual to want him to pull off the improbable, if not impossible. He’s fought injury and PED accusations and criticism of his statistically worse year as a pro, but still is one step away from a championship. Don’t many of us find ourselves wistfully entertaining the notion that we, too, can pull out one last win? We might not dare to lower our shoulder into a linebacker, but somewhere in our mundane lives we fancy ourselves less spectator and more participant, and more victor than vanquished because we believe our moxie can make up for our shortcomings born from aging.
So what if Peyton fumbles in one more attempt to see the top of the mountain? There is still honor in the attempt. We’ll move on. Most of us already know how to cast off failures and cherish victories day to day.