As everyone who follows what North Americans call football has seen by now, there was a very controversial call by replacement referees at the end of the game between the Packers and the Seahawks last night. A “Hail Mary” pass at the close which looked like an interception by the Packers was ruled a touchdown for the Seahawks, giving them the win.
Football tends to border on a “religion” for some. They are faithful to their team. They live and die by it. They wear certain colors to put on display their loyalty to their team. A loss can feel like “literally the end of the world.” I cannot identify with this feeling, but I have witnessed its effects first hand.
Hence, in my world this morning, I have heard nothing but talk about the game, how the Packers, and their fans by extension (of which there are many in Minnesota) were robbed. Maybe the Packers as a team were robbed of a win, but they gained something too, and the fans were robbed of nothing, as the game has nothing to do with them, no matter how much people like to refer to their team as “we.”
I say bad calls by referees happen to teach fans the fleetingness of a call in a football game. If we can’t see that, we will never see the impermanence of life. Sure on a miniscule scale, in the context of the football season, this call led to a win that should not have been a win, and one win can make a difference in the final standings dictating which teams reach the playoffs. But I say on the larger scale even the Lombardi Trophy itself, which goes to the winner of the Super Bowl, is impermanent and therefore unimportant. To the player, every win can feel like the fulfillment of a dream he feels he was in this life to achieve. But then he just has to ask himself, if it doesn’t happen as a result of such inexplicable circumstances, was it really the desired outcome? Maybe humility in the face of overwhelming evidence that he was robbed is the desired outcome.
So I understand the player’s point of view, but to the fan, a blown call means nothing. A win improves your life not one iota. It’s all delusive. Anything through which we live out our dharma vicariously is delusive. There is nothing wrong with entertainment, but to attach one’s own feeling of self-worth to the outcome of certain entertainment forms (which, let’s be honest, people definitely do with football. How many times have you heard fans after a loss by their team lament “We suck!”?) is just counter-productive, to put it mildly.
Then again, maybe I feel this way because I really don’t care about football that much. I have railed against the terrible job Major League Baseball umpires have done this year, quite a lot. Just ask my wife.
I could go on and on about this but I’ll give you that much to sip on.