‘Super Bowl Podcast’ by John W. Steele The Society September 7, 2017 Culture, Humor, News of Note, Poetry 2 Comments The best way to understand America is through the lens of football esoterica. If you have no clue where you belong, why not join the friendly football throng? Get to know the winners and the losers, then idolize the biggest, meanest bruisers. If you know the players, teams and stats, it will fuel all sorts of chats and spats. It’s easy to connect with your community; go to a game and holler with impunity. Don’t let on that you’re a rank beginner. Talk statistics and you’ll be a winner. This is the Horace Flaccus podcast, here outside the NRG Stadium. Let’s hear what people on the street have to say as they stand in line on Super Bowl Sunday. PROTESTER SHOUTING: I’m not here to spoil your day, but I wonder if you’ve heard of TBI. Imagine an announcer shouting this, as a player’s carried to the pits: “The receiver just sustained a grade two concussion. Another brain sautéed! The members of the church of gridiron cheer as they take another sip of beer.” FOOTBALL FAN: It’s not our fault. How dare you blame and shame us? We’re the ones who make them rich and famous. Why don’t you talk about the importance of teamwork, athleticism, the viewers sense of camaraderie? PROTESTER: _____________I’m not negating that at all. Everything you say is true. But football has a darker side. The NFL doesn’t collect or publish stats that tell us how many players wind up disabled. Who is going to overturn the tables? Football fosters tolerance of violence and fans support it, claiming innocence. How about the racism: a mob of white guys cheering as black gladiators fight for the ball? Two-thirds of players are black, yet only six percent of coaches are black. Of all the teams, not one is owned by blacks. FOOTBALL FAN: Come on man, give us a break. The players are very well paid. You’re really not being fair. It’s not as if they’re forced to play the game. PROTESTER: Could you resist the money and the fame? Don’t get me wrong, my friend, I understand. For years I was a Dallas Cowboys fan. The more I watched the more I felt complicit. I won’t support a sport that’s so horrific. The football culture covers up the facts. As if someone had stopped our ears with wax, we never say “concussion;” instead we say “He had his bell rung. Did you see that play?” You might not be aware that one in three players suffers memory loss. D’you see why I won’t stop talking about this? Who cares if die-hard fans like you get pissed? John W. Steele. Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, is a student in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Western State Colorado University. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 2 Responses James Poulter September 7, 2017 Great. Reply Father Richard Libby September 11, 2017 This poem raises some very uncomfortable considerations for football fans, especially as concerns former players. Dr. Steele has contributed to a long overdue discussion that our society, I think, would rather avoid. Well done, Dr. Steele! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.