Well, another Super Bowl has come and gone. Two weeks of talking in great detail about what might happen culminated in what really did happen, and a fist fight. One play “lost the game” for the Seahawks, or so people say. I don’t really buy it.
A few plays before the Seahawks lost the ball, a receiver made a ridiculous catch, juggling the ball, and pulling it in as he lay on his back. If that unlikely play hadn’t happened, the final Seahawks play wouldn’t have even happened.
Throughout the game both teams made good plays, but missed some opportunities. That’s the nature of sports and of humans. One could just as easily say that a player who dropped a pass on the 5th play of the game, or a safety who missed a tackle in the second quarter “lost the game” for the Seahawks. We just tend to focus on what happened most recently.
That applies to other areas of life as well. A Saturday spent being a perfect husband can hit a romantic brick wall with an unappreciated remark at 8pm. Likewise, a stellar year at work can be forgotten at an annual review if something boneheaded was done the previous week.
It’s funny to watch political popularity and job approval ratings go up and down, when the good or bad that person may have done could have occurred last year. But, if last week they said something stupid, or especially brilliant, suddenly their job approval changes.
In religion the idea of the afterlife is very appealing, and I think all religions have something like it. Some believe that a badly-lived life will be forgiven if redemption is sought at the end. That’s the ultimate “winning the game.” Some believe that we’re judged on the totality of our lives, and, despite our gross imperfections, our real effort to be good people.
I don’t know anybody who knows for sure what the reality is to all that, or if it is all or partly mythical. I do know that, in my mind, living a good life is more important than calling the right play or catching a pass or making sure your team’s balls are properly inflated.
Sports provides two opposite benefits: we can escape from our lives and live vicariously through our heroes, but we can also see how those teams and individuals deal with challenges, disappointments, tragedies, and successes as a microcosm of what life sometimes hands us. I wonder if Saint Peter does our post-game interviews…