One of my most treasured memories as a teenager was seeing my sister’s fiancée chasing her across the grass and tackling her, at the same time shouting, “Football!” It intrigued me to see such joy and effortless submission to the call of the sport that Americans call football and the UK calls soccer. Never mind, we do not understand cricket just as they do not understand the mighty sport of American football.
For those of us who do “get” football, and for those who, like me, grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, football is the red and white, the OU Sooners and the crowds performing the wave as the impetus of the game gets rolling. It is not just a subculture, but rather things that divorcing couples fight over – season tickets – who gets them? For Sooner fans, it will never be just a game, but a way of life between God, family and work.
I also will not easily forget the Saturday my father and I went to the OU vs. OSU game one season. I, the traitor, was attending OSU at the time. When I actually cheered for my team in the midst of red and white, he was mortified. Be quiet, he said. I smiled and complied, as I completely understood his sporting embarrassment.
Once you are touched by the Boomer Sooner spirit, it is not likely you will ever recover. Even if you cross lines by attending another Oklahoma college or university, the stain of cardinal red and spanking bright white will forever be twisted around your heart.
The affiliation helps me understand the super fascination that is the Super Bowl. Across the country, Denver Broncos fans and Seattle Seahawks fans will collide with the impact of hilarious commercials and avid cursing at referees or perhaps the player that is not holding up his end of the bargain. As strongly as these sports fans feel about the “enemy,” they are just as likely to be prone to heckle or advise their own team members’ performance. For those who have no particular attachment to either team, there will be a decision before the game to root for one team or another.
The Super Bowl has inspired producers of commercials to dizzying heights of comedy and sometimes to shock and awe. Doritos and beer commercials have never known such notoriety as when they entertain football viewers. Oh yes, and there is the game. Last year, 108.96 million viewers tuned into see the Super Bowl. That is just the number of television viewers. It is a national celebration for some, whether tailgating at the actual event in New Jersey, or listening to the radio broadcast of the game, even more participants will be gathering together. In homes across the nation, Super Bowl parties will reach their zenith by affording attendees more chicken wings, sub sandwiches and chip and dip than they ever could have hoped for in one evening.
The competition is not just in the game, but also the size of big screen TV that displays the yearly super game. I gave up keeping up with the Joneses on that one, but it is one of the factors that rates a good Super Bowl celebration. My sister is in good stead with a 72- inch television to beat the band.
The Super Bowl’s super fascination is not likely to ebb any time soon. Somehow that is a comfort to me, an old Sooner fan who can occasionally shout for OSU.
By Lisa M Pickering