--William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Dear New England Patriots,
That's really all I want to say to you in this week before you play in Super Bowl 52, or Super Bowl LII, to make it sound that much more important. Thank you.
For giving us bone chilled, January weary New Englanders something to cheer for, root for, anticipate with joy, in this first month of the year, in the depths of winter. These are the weeks on the calendar when the promise of spring is still so far away and the memories of the holidays are fast fading, and so by going to the big game again, amazingly, for the eighth time in 18 years, you give us the chance to play again. No other team or part of the country can make that claim or is this fortunate.
Thank you for giving us something to rally around, come together for, talk about, discuss, kibbitz: in line at Dunkin Donuts and around the water cooler at work and at church coffee hour. Right now in our land there is so much that is pulling us apart, separating us, making us seem like anything but united or one people. At least in this part of Creation, for at least these few days, we've got a diversion, a game, just plain old fun, to take our minds off the very divisive issues our nation and world faces. One game won't make any of our problems go away but maybe for a few hours, over way too much food and drink, we can let that go and play together, be a team. Yell and scream and cheer!
Thanks for the "drama" surrounding the "super" in "Super Bowl". Will Brady's hand be fully healed? Will Gronk return from his concussion? Will Belichick finally wear something more fitting to a head coach other than that grey, ragged, food-stained cut off hoodie? Will he actually smile? This one week I will skip my hard news addiction for sports talk radio and sports in the newspaper too, eat it all up, escape from the high drama playing out in Washington, D.C. Makes me wish your team could tackle our more recalcitrant and stubborn political leaders, remind them to stop throwing tantrums and just "DO YOUR JOB!" If only they took their "game" as seriously as you do.
Thanks, regardless of the final score, come ten o'clock or so, Sunday night. Yes, I want you to win, we all do, but the greatest gift of a game like this game, is that finally, it is just that: a game. A competition, played on a playing field. It is PLAY. The only thing at stake finally, is a win or a loss. That's the gift of sports to our world, what sports do best. Sports empower humans to play and to watch and be greatly entertained, and ultimately, all for enjoyment, joy. FUN. That's why fans love sports. That's why so many of us play sports too.
Sports allow us to take the bodies and the minds we have been given by our Creator and then use them to play and to be fully alive, to give it our full effort, to leave it all on the field, to know that we have tried our best. Sports remind us that practice and preparation, and not just talent, wins. Sports teach us that together we can achieve so much more than going it alone. Sports and teams add richness and sweet memories to our days, make the journey that much more fun, and remind us that play is central to a blessed life.
Those are good lessons for a Super Bowl. Good lessons for the game of life too.
So again, thank you New England Patriots. Good luck against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minnesota. And don't forget to have fun and to play.