Should A Poet Even Be At The Super Bowl? – Op-Ed Piece


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Should A Poet Even Be At The Super Bowl? – Op-Ed Piece


Some events in our society hold a status for the manmade value bestowed upon it by arrogant leaders and gathering masses. The event is not significant due to its historical importance, like Caesar’s Gaul invasion, or for its religious relevance like Paul’s letters. Those matter because they shaped our very world. Power shifted because of them. People’s lives change from them. We changed for them.


So mentioning them in our world today is not stupid or pointless because they hold major lessons and precedents we can draw upon. (Caesar divided the most influential republic the world has ever seen. Paul wrote the most important letters the world has read.)

Then there are other events. The ones that matter because we make them matter. We create the confetti-filled street crowded parade. We write popular songs for the people involved. We make the spectacle with fireworks, and loud sounds that irritate old people, and visuals that can cause blindness. Upon further review (which is always too long for some reason), we see that the world isn’t that radically different because of the event. The power hasn’t shifted. People’s lives haven’t changed. We haven’t changed. We then can‘t help but start to question ourselves, “Does it really matter? The parade, the songs, the spectacle?”


Eh… Probably not.


The Super Bowl is the best example of this hubris and ego getting the better of society.

The winner of the football game will not decide anything important. The territories of the country are not changed after the game. We will still have 50 states (half of them are there because dividing the nation into 6 or 7 regions would seem tyrannical). The losing leaders are not beheaded or put on trial for crimes against their country. (We aren’t even privileged to a good old manhunt of an enemy of the state) The laws are still the same after the trophy is hoisted up. The Constitution is still in place. There are Bill of Rights hasn’t altered. For those religious folks, the Ten Commandments is still ten. In terms of the greater society, it doesn’t matter who wins a football game in the early part of February.

For all the comparison that football gives itself to war, it is deceived with the notion that life is on the line in the game. Sorry, but only one player ever actually died in a professional NFL game. Are you going to compare getting hit hard to getting shot at by bullet fire? What’s worse, running across the middle of Lambeau Field or being fired upon in the waters of Omaha Beach? Being sacked by a defensive lineman or being sacked by Roman troops looking for your head? Football players are tough, and it takes some sort of courage to play the game on that level, because yes, they do get hit hard, and their bodies will probably never be the same after the game is over, but football players are not solider-tough. Those guys die on the field, which is another level that football doesn’t like to admit is greater than their own. That player suffered a concussion? Aren’t there soldiers who had their legs blown up? That is not the same, no matter how much football thinks it is.


In this deceitful charade of toughness will be featured one of my people; a poet—the wordsmith of our misled society. The one who types up a bunch of lines, has people read it and interpret it in all sorts of strange ways, and then agrees that all the ways are correct, because why not? My work can be interpreted however the reader wants to interpret it, as long as they keep coming back to reading it.

That’s right; a poet is going to be on the pre-game show of the Super Bowl.

And I couldn’t disagree more with this.

Don’t get me wrong; I am sure the girl is a good poet. She’ll come up with some clever wordplay or imaginative imagery for the fans to enjoy for a brief moment. She’ll talk of necessary values and urgent messages that football is trying to convey, which is boring and, as a football fan, I could give a shit, but people will like that she is standing up for what is right, so whatever.

Which on a side note: If football is so interested in itself from a larger society view, then it should at least realize it is probably responsible for more gambling addictions and drinking problems than any other sport. This is the same sport that told people not to beat their wives. And is now saying that we are in this together. As for the gambling and drinking? Don’t worry too much about that. It’s a problem, but is it really a problem? In that case, we are in this together, for we all get drunk and lose money as one. Thanks, football.


But a poet at the Super Bowl? Come on, poetry, you are playing yourself if you think that you are that cool or even wanted. It’s like when poetry gives itself a month. I am left here wondering, “Do they want me to mock them? Are they trying to get picked on by me? Cause this is too easy.” Poetry should know who it is, and this is another example of poetry not understanding its place in people’s minds. The modern poet needs to get over themselves and think that most people who hear sophisticated “old” language will think it comes from the Bible or Shakespeare. And the most popular poet people read today is… Dr. Seuss. That should tell you all you need to know of people’s opinion of poetry.


The most poetry that should be brought up at the Super Bowl is when a literary nerd like me tells my family during a repeated commercial that the Baltimore Ravens are named after Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” They all give me that look like, “Okay, Greg. We get it. You write. Can we get back to the game now?” And then I mention some other random fact of Poe or literature's problem before the game resumes.


That is about the most that literature should show up for the Super Bowl. I can tell you right now how the room I am staying with will react to the poem.


“What is this shit? A poem? A freaking poem? What am I in English class?”

“Is she done yet?”

“Why aren’t they talking about the game?”

“Did the game start? Or are they still doing their 24-hour pre-game show?”


Those are the comments that I will hear when she begins her second line.

The poetry crowd is not the football crowd. The football crowd will have their hands full; One hand with their sheet of paper telling them their betting chances and how much money they can win for each. And in the other hand is a beer or some sort of beverage.

At the Super Bowl, a person either bet on the game is drinking during the game, or possibly both. If you don’t do this, you are viewed as one of those fake football fans who only show up when the Super Bowl is on. You only know who the quarterback is on the team. You can’t name one of the actual teams. And you are more interested in the snacks than the 2-minute drill.


It is ironic that football wants to be a part of poetry at all. Football; you know, the game played by steroid-induced behemoths who crash into each other and have brain damage by the time they are forty. The same game that has the halftime show consist of five guys who say a sentence each for their analysis of the previous game’s half is going to feature a poet. That’s great. Do you want to make it more awkward, NFL?


Let’s see, how else can they make it more awkward for the fans? They could have an overly sexual commercial. That always make the room (that probably has kids in it) sweat a little. They can interview a drunk celebrity and ask them their take on the game. As if anyone is fascinated by the football thoughts of a person who was in a movie ten years ago. They can seriously address social issues that the inebriated crowd half-listens to while blaming the audience for their lack of responsibility for the wrongs of the world.

I am looking forward to the blank reactions that each analyst in the studio gives to the poem. Like they care about it. As if they give a shit.

The coach of forty years is supposed to pretend like he is interested in a few words from a poet, who, let’s face it, nobody knows. The player who played in the Super Bowl has to sit there and act like he thought of great comments on a few lines from a poet who his kids may not even know. This is the freaking Super Bowl, and we are talking poetry? Come on, I am a poet, but even I can admit that is wrong. Each guy in the studio will have that passive expression like they don’t know what to actually say, so they will say that they are impressed by the poem. More so, they can move on than any actual greatness from the poem. (unfortunately)


I have to give credit to football in this respect; (I know I am railing on football here, but I still like the game). Football gave the world a great idiom. When you say that something is like the Super Bowl, you are saying that there is nothing bigger than it. Sports do a great job in producing idioms, but this one is the best. Good job there, football. (seriously)

Why have a poet even there? What is the NFL’s interest in poetry? And don’t tell me it is for their interest in literature. Personally, I think the NFL is doing this so that they can appear sophisticated. Like how Ancient Romans would quote Greek philosophy to impress fellow Romans. It doesn’t do much, but it makes them look smart. That is all this is—a play by the NFL to look smart. I gotta give poetry credit here; If you want to sound like an intellectual in our time, you quote, or in this case, read poetry. People will think you are smart if you can write a poem.


The NFL is having a poet at the pre-game show as a ploy to give themselves the illusion that they are giving their fans something of intellectual value. Also, to distract everyone from the fact that they are overdrinking and developing a gambling problem. Remember, though; we are all in this together.

Ending

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