Yesterday was the beginning of a ten day celebration of Super Bowl LII (or 52 if you aren’t a throwback to ancient Rome.) Yet even today, in “civilized” society, we have taken to celebrating just about everything. Minneapolis is the site of this year’s Super Bowl and even though the home team is sadly not participating, the city and state will reap the monetary benefits of this gala event.
Our convention center has been turned into the Super Bowl Experience, where young and old will participate in their own games. The Nicollet Mall (usually considered the main street in downtown Minneapolis will be the venue for specialty acts and lots of shopping opportunities for residents of the city as well as visitors from other states. There is even a zip line that carries you across the width of the Mississippi River. It is gigantic for the state of Minnesota and will create tremendous revenue and notoriety.
Back in ancient Rome, a couple thousand years ago, similar sporting activities were the fare of the day. When I looked up gladiators, I came upon this tidbit:
“Gladiator games offered their sponsors extravagantly expensive but effective opportunities for self-promotion, and gave their clients and potential voters exciting entertainment at little or no cost to themselves. Gladiators became big business for trainers and owners, for politicians on the make and those who had reached the top and wished to stay there.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. The sponsors today, come up with quirky ads that often leave us enjoying the content of the ad more than the product. Unheard of amounts of money will be won and lost. Scammers will abound and the proverbial snake oil salesman will definitely show his ugly face.
It’s interesting that time doesn’t alter our thinking much, does it? Today, our modern day gladiators receive exorbitant salaries for getting their heads butted in, but their careers are usually short lived. In Roman times, some would receive their freedom in payment. Others would sacrifice their lives in exchange for the roar of the crowd. Our games today are also expensive productions designed to line the pockets of many individuals, while genuine sports enthusiasts are willing to pay ridiculous prices for tickets, clothing, trinkets and fleeting enjoyment.
I am happy that my state is hosting this year’s Super Bowl. I’m also concerned about who is going to clean up the streets when it’s all over and done – how much crime will occur during the next ten days – how much money will be lost in frivolous spending – will we have one of our notorious cold snaps, putting a damper on the whole thing? In the frozen state of Minnesota anything can happen, but we certainly know how to stay warm here.
Whether your plans include attending the Super Bowl this year, or if you stay home and view it on a recently purchased big screen TV, you can be sure that contests like this will continue through the end of time. It’s in our nature to be part of a winning team or to make a buck off of it.
Of course I’m being a bit cynical today, but bear with me. The Green Bay Packers will don their cheese heads, the Vikings will sing their Nordic swan songs and life will go on, and as Scarlet O’Hara so aptly put it – “Tomorrow is another day.” We will survive and this too shall pass.