briefly, on the histrionics of saving a season

Last night, the Green Bay Packers assisted with the Houston Texans’ apparent desire to destroy themselves on national television. In sum, the Texans’ out-Packer-ed the Packers, who are, when given the opportunity, well-versed in the art of dropping trou and laying a big, steaming dump at midfield for millions to see. Being a Sconnie expat, and without the usurious satellite subscription service to watch a zillion professional football games, the chance to watch my home team is one I tend to take. (While I’m here, it’s bittersweet to have watched Badger alum JJ Watt last night. As it was to see Russell Wilson a few weeks ago, until the ending, that is.)

I don’t like professional football that much; given the option, I’d rather watch my Wisconsin Badgers–also good at the prominent midfield defecation–and get to hear the greatest fight song and touchdown ditty ever and remember what it was like to feel Camp Randall shake underneath my feet after the third quarter. Nonetheless, it’s satisfying to see one’s preferred sports team go out and deliver the goods.

What is dissatisfying, however, is to wake up the next day and see writers and talking jockstraps wax on how the Packers saved their season. Six games in, and we’re acting as though we saved a kitty from a burning house. For something that happens 16 times a year, it seems to mean an awful lot, and perhaps too much. For me, the Super Bowl matters insofar as that it indicates that pitchers and catchers start spring training shortly thereafter, with March Madness after that and Opening Day, typically concurrent with the Final Four. It’s satisfying when my team wins, but it’s not more important than the fact that more people will watch football on November 4th than vote on the 6th, or that sports radio hosts line up for the next three days and rehash the same old crap during the football season. This is the worst time for sports media, everyone falling over themselves for a sport which is largely predictable and, I daresay, boring, which is why the replacement ref debacle was just so much fun–and the ‘Fail Mary’ in Seattle was so noticed, even outside the distended borders of football MURICA. I find everything more fascinating in football than the game itself, including the myriad ways in which we prostrate ourselves to the Lombardi Trophy and its High Priest, Roger Goodell, who we apparently love to hate now, though it doesn’t stop the fact that we still watch, root, love and hate all the same.

No, the Packers did not ‘save their season’ last night. They won a game. They could go out and lose the next ten, win the next ten, or some permutation in between. What happens to them going forward is, least of all, up to them. Such is parity, a subtle reminder of our resignation to the notion that our fate is largely not our own, which is probably why we root for sports teams in the first place.


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