Along with more than 100 million other viewers I watched Super Bowl XLV, and was surprised that the game was uncharacteristically more entertaining than the commercials. Usually, I tune in solely for the ads since this bloated spectacle wrapped tightly in the American flag has often gone in the direction of a painfully dull rout. Even though this game was competitive and fairly exciting, I will probably no longer recall that it was the Green Bay Packers that defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 by week’s end. It is likely that I will remember that Christina Aguilera mangled the National Anthem for the long haul. Cue cards should have been allowed or she should have thought to print a cheat sheet on her palm.
What I remember most about the Super Bowls played in the last ten years was the inflated brouhaha surrounding the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction. Had he accidentally knocked her out with his elbow performing an exuberant dance move that would not have caused one-tenth the stir of that ridiculously fast flash of nipple. Cynic that I am, I think that that malfunction was planned to ignite controversy. It certainly roused me out of my stupor.
Overall, I tend to best recall the mediocrity of the half-time entertainment featuring established acts that are years and often decades past their prime. Now, the Black Eyed Peas, clad in electric suits from the Tron wardrobe collection, can join the pantheon of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crowe, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, in singing a watered down medley of their greatest hits. Odd that I can rattle off the names of so many of these half-time acts, but if under gunpoint I were ordered to name what teams played, I’d be as dead as any furry creature on a country road in the path of a motorist that failed to use Bridgestone tires.
In the second half of Sunday’s Super Bowl, play-by-play announcer, Joe Buck, explained to the home viewer that the ten-year-old string bean of a girl sprinting merrily across the field clutching a football was Ava Childs. Ava, from Wheaton, Illinois, is a fifth grader that won a national essay writing contest that is part of the NFL’s Play 60 campaign, an effort to motivate children to be active for 60 minutes a day. The NFL judges selected Ava’s essay out of 17,000 submissions. Ava hopes to one day be the league’s first female place kicker.
According to a chart depicting the age of the population recently published in The New York Times, in 2010 there were approximately 44 million children between the ages of 5 – 14.
Surely there were more than 17,000 ten-year-olds in that group. Therefore, 17,000 submissions to this essay writing contest strikes me as low, indicating that most kids in America are indeed apathetic little couch potatoes that don’t even have the energy to write an essay. No wonder China is kicking our butts – and those Chinese kids are also learning English and could have probably written a better essay than our very own Ava.
Back to Ava … Kiddo, I have bad news for you, you playing in the NFL will never happen unless the rules are revised permitting murder and suicide. Please observe the size of the average NFL football player; Shrek on steroids would barely reach their waist. You on that field would be pulverized in an instant. Therefore you might want to rethink your dream. A good start might be to learn how to speak and write Mandarin.