Super Bowl 101
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” When I think about sports, I picture this:
A 30-ish Bill Murray is standing in front of room full of young campers. He’s about to give them a pep talk, about to rev them up for that big competition against the rich rival camp.
“It-just-doesn’t-matter! It-just-doesn’t-matter!” he chants, smiling.
And then the whole place joins in.
What, you’ve never seen “Meatballs?”
OK, so it’s safe to say that, when it comes to organized athletics, I don’t really get it. The mania, the hype, the attachment to teams is beyond me. And the complexity of football? Forget about it. Recently, when given the responsibility of writing an article on the Super Bowl, my inner monologue went something like this:
Then came the panic. I needed my own game plan. So, out of necessity, I went to a few experts for a lightning-fast course.
Football, it turns out, is easier experienced than explained.
“Stina ” geez,” said Rocky Whitworth, coach of the Glenwood Springs High School football team (editor’s note: a highly successful team, not that Stina would know…). I had just asked him a particularly naive question, and he couldn’t help but make fun of me. Despite his friendly joking, the former college player and coach admitted this is no easy game to catch on to. He made no attempt to explain plays or positions, perhaps because he knew it was a lost cause. It’s all momentum, he said; it’s ever-changing, unpredictable. He even went so far as to call it “nebulous,” but definitely American.
“It’s all about the ball,” he went on, getting more succinct. “That’s the key deal; when you don’t have it, then your chances of scoring are less.”
Finally, words I could understand.
“It’s an orchestration of a lot of people,” he continued, calling it the “ultimate team sport.”
There’s a respect of its complexity and beauty that gets to fans, he said. It still gets to him ” even though he loathes its commercialism these days. He even admitted to watching games without sound, his own silent protest. He was so jazzed about the form, the art of the sport, but that didn’t mean he could make me get any of it.
“It’s like war on the field,” said Ron Milhorn, trying his hand at an explanation. “It’s a battle for inches, for yards, for touch downs (editor’s note: we know “touchdown” is one word, but Stina doesn’t).”
Oh, I liked that. Though Milhorn knew it was all Greek to me, at least the dramatic element in his voice got me going.
Milhorn, 49, the news and sports director for KMTS, was at home, sick, and beyond friendly when I asked for a little help. Hilariously, he remained patient while I asked him questions like “Do they always start from the center of the field?” or “Do they kick off at the start of every quarter?”
For more than half an hour he went along with my requests, saying far too many perfect quotes for me to use here.
He described his love of college ball (editor’s note: we know Milhorn played for the University of Southern California, but Stina either didn’t find that out or realize its significance), his hatred of “five-hour-long” NFL pre-game shows. That hype, he feels, is opposite of all he cares about.
“Basically it’s a sense of pride for a school and community,” he said, “something to bring people out on a Friday night or Saturday evening.”
That’s nice, I thought, knowing I was still lost.
My third and final football “coach” was Joelle Milholm, the Post Independent’s sports editor. Never a player herself, Milholm, 24, was obviously comfortable in her (pig)skin, and she spoke with ease and excitement about the topic at hand.
As she threw out cherry phrases like “end zone” and “Hail Mary,” I just smiled and nodded.
“It’s a high-intensity, impact sport that’s just kind of fun to watch,” she said, “Just liking parties and commercials and halftime shows is enough (to enjoy the Super Bowl).”
Now she was speaking my language. She went on about the Patriots and their unbroken record ” and about how much she hates them. She’ll be rooting for New York this year, but, no matter who was playing, she would still tune it, she said. That’s how much she cares.
“They (the players) are doing things that are, as a human being, crazy,” she said, “Like getting knocked down by a 300-pound lineman. They’re like superheroes.”
And then there was more smiling and nodding from me. As with all of these “experts,” I didn’t see exactly where she was coming from, but I envied her enthusiasm, all the same.
After all these talks, I looked down at my notebook. With scratch-outs and arrows, dashes and exclamations, the pages looked like my own crazy collection of plays.
As I leafed through it, I realized how much I wanted to feel a wave of clarity. I wanted to finally say, “I get it now.”
Sorry, Ron, Rocky and Joelle, but I don’t, and probably won’t. And I’m OK with that.
Don’t worry, though. Come Sunday, I’ll still be one of the millions, plopped down in front of the television. I might not know what I’m seeing, but, hey, I like beer and pizza as much as anyone else.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
Post Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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