Why I care so much about the Super Bowl

Who could ask for anything more?

When I was young and confused, I dated someone who mocked my football obsession. Why do I care so much about a bunch of oversized oafs beating the crap out of each other?

Cut to years later: She’s long gone, but the “oafs” happily remain. And the answer to her question will be on full display this Super Bowl Sunday.

These are challenging times, and we need distractions more than ever. The Super Bowl provides that and more, from powerhouse teams to pageantry to Lady Gaga.

The game steadily has grown to become one of our biggest (if undeclared) national holidays, right up there with Christmas and the Fourth of July. Last year’s audience made it the third-most-watched show in TV history.

Still, some wonder why we get so excited about this distraction from serious subjects and ask, What about climate change? Worldwide famine? Donald Trump?

Bulletin: I can hold two, even three thoughts in my head at once. Watching football recharges my batteries to fight the good fight, and the timing of this year’s Super Bowl couldn’t be better. Hope is at least temporarily renewed when I and a friend or family member with radically different political outlooks wind up cheering for the same team and gleefully high-fiving after a score.

Even those with limited knowledge of the game can take part in the Super Bowl betting pools. BTW, why does it seem that the person who knows the least about football always wins the grand prize?

Whether it’s sports, “The Walking Dead” or “The Housewives of (Wherever),” we all need our mindless escapes. I have a football-betting buddy; each week, the loser takes the winner to dinner. Once he called me on a Sunday morning in strangely hushed tones, mumbling “Jets plus six, Patriots minus two.” I asked why he was whispering, and he told me he was at a funeral. There’s a man with his priorities straight!

So whether you’re a fan of the Patriots or Falcons, or don’t even know who they are, Sunday’s game is guaranteed to offer a great time with friends and family, and a welcome escape from reality. Who could ask for anything more?

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.

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