Skip to main content


Please view this simulation, Super Bowl XLI.  Perhaps, it will stimulate thoughts of election reform.

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Last evening, or was it this morning, I took the late night flight from California to Florida.  I was returning home, to the state hosting the final football match, Super Bowl 2007.  The plane was packed.  As we stood in line at the gate people chattered.  Many were very young, barely out of their teens.  Some singles straggled in.  Couples collected in the boarding area.  The elderly were evident. They were all energized.  Party; Party; Party!!!  The power of play was everywhere.  I was unwittingly part of a popular event.  I wish it were an election that stimulated such interest and energy; however, it was not.  It was the slamming of bodies, the glory of the game, fame, and fortune that ignited the masses.  Crowds were turning out in droves for Super Bowl XLI!

A man adorned with a closely coiffed do, displayed a blue horseshoe, dyed into his blonde shavings.  Obviously, this man was an Indianapolis Colts fan.  A woman, excited to see the players, was wearing a gorgeous fur vest.  I admired it and asked, "Did you buy this delight this year?"  I wondered aloud where she find such a sensational piece and how much was it?  She happily replied.  She got it at Saks.  This flaxen haired lovely offered, she purchased three, one in white, another in black, a third, the one I saw was naturally multicolored.  It was champagne, caramel, butterscotch, and blonde.  

This Super Bowl junkie shared how and where she wears each one.  She reflected; the white one and the one embellishing her ensemble were six hundred and fifty dollars [$650].  The black fur was almost twice the price.  The ivory fleece was for formal occasions as was the ebony pelt.  This fine female stated the more colorful skin was for casual wear.  The Super Bowl seemed a splendid occasion for such garb.  We discussed the designer.  She showed me the label.  Then she turned to a burly chap standing behind her.  Names again became the topic of conversation.  This gorgeous girl spoke of the players see longed to see at the game.

The man was polite as he corrected her pronunciation.  Stats were thrown about.  Ooops, there it was a fumble on the field.  The woman did not have her facts straight.  No matter; after all, it is the thought that counts.

The couple I first saw in the parking lot was also awaiting this flight.  We had engaged earlier.  As we walked briskly into the airport, we discussed the dynamics of why fifty-one percent of American women were choosing to remain or found themselves single.  The two had been mulling over the recent report as they exited their vehicle.  She said that much of the decision was based on finances.  Women today can and do make it on their own.  They want no man to walk off with their hard-earned wealth.  

This forty-four year old female divorcee had seen such in her lifetime.  She had and would continue to protect herself, her investments, and assets.  She mentioned that she and her male admirer worked together.  They shared ownerships in many business ventures.  However, she concluded, she was the marrying type.  The man accompanying her was and is her beau.  

The two plan to wed in six and one-half years, when he and his former wife are no longer legally linked.  The gentleman has a son, and until he is eighteen or out of college, there would be ties that bound him to his former mate.  "They," she wanted to be certain her fiancées ex-wife could not capitalize on her earnings.  For now however, this reflective female, a long-legged blonde was content.  She was accompanying her lover as they traveled to the Bowl.

The couple has been together for a year and one half.  I wondered as I listened to their talk and her assessment of his first wife and her former husband, would the relationship last another six and a half years?  Will marriage to each other be in their future?  I cannot know.  I do however; feel certain Super Bowl Sunday was definitely part of the plan.

As time passed and we all waited to board, the plane there was much to watch, more to discern; the volume, the telling of stories was increasing.

The party animals were ready.  Friends were meeting them at the gate, in the state of Florida, or at the stadium.  Hotels are full and still filling reservations.  Young and old were uniting.  As Romans readying to rally 'round the Gladiators fight, people were preparing for the main event.  Few were excited about political campaigns.  There was no talk of Iraq.  The upcoming election was not on the minds of this cast of characters.  Bud Light was blooming.  As I witnessed the enthusiasm surrounding me, I thought of voter turnout.  I wonder why is it never as extreme.

Finally, we boarded.  The bold, the brawny, the belligerent, and the besieged all took their seats on the plane.  The young woman sitting next to me was barely in her twenties.  She called her friends and family before we took off.  Throughout the flight, she read fashion magazines.  She listened to music.  She did not sleep or if she did indulge, she did so as I too was getting some shuteye.  She noshed on snacks and then a quality fruit salad.  Her mind was clearly racing, as were her fingers as she text-messaged before we ascended and immediately after we hit the ground running.

When we landed she telephoned her Daddy, assuring him she was safe and on the ground.  This radiant raven-haired youth contacted each of her friends before we exited the airplane.  At 4:58 AM, she was on the move!  I was sleepy.

Years ago, I twice represented the Democratic Party as part of the Election Observation panel.  Grand Jury members and Party participants avidly watch the election returns come in.  The hours are long.  A delegate is lucky to leave the Registrars office before sunrise.  Often, an envoy exits the premises early in the morning, when the sun is already high in the sky.  For an occasion such as that, I am wide-awake and active, no matter what the hour.  Yet, somehow, for me, the Super Bowl does not compare.  It does not move me.  However, it does motivate my mind.  

I arrived home, thinking of the evening.  I slept soundly.  When I arose, I realized there must be a lesson to learn here.

I Googled "Super Bowl."  Fifty-nine million, [59, 800,000] results screamed for attention.  I then searched "Election 2008."  A slamming, damning 11,000,000 possibilities called out to me, such a stark contrast.  I wonder when people do turnout to vote are they interested in the issues, or is the battle beckoning them.  Does the public ponder policies?  Does the populace consider possibly changing their community for the better?  Are adults assessing guidelines that could benefit them or their neighbors personally, or is the incentive to participate not necessarily practical.  

I contemplate my travel experience and think.  Perhaps, if elections focused on the hype, if the battle to win was widely embraced, turnout might be greater.  "Get the bum out!" was the rallying cry in 20004 and people poured into the polls.  Perchance pollster, pundits, and public relations persons are in error.  Economy is not the topic of concern.  The effects of a failing educational system do not generate interest among the masses.  Energy crunches and global warming, while worthy of note, do not cause the worry they might.  What brings people together is a battle.  Fighting and conquest is fun!!!!

The opportunity to punish an enemy, be they a Colt or a Bear, is one that cannot be missed.  To witness a war and to party hearty, that is appealing.  Conceivably, citizens that seek broader voter participation must reevaluate their positions.  Activists may want to look at what electrifies the electorate.

"Give peace a chance" will not get out the vote.  Universal Health Care will not come between "me and my Calvin's."  [Remember how excited the public was when a young Brook Shields dressed in skintight jeans.  Uproar was evident throughout the nation.  The media and the masses discussed this commercial endlessly.  Many thought it too racy.  Sex sells!!!]  Minimum Wage may affect a few.  However, those that work for next to nothing, may not have the time or energy to vote.  "Get out the vote" may be a matter of bringing people to battle!  The fight, the win, the frenzy, these seem to stimulate an apathetic society.

Thus, I say, "Go Bears."  "Go Colts"  "Go Greens and Blues."  "Beat the Reds" to a bloody pulp?  Yikes, those words hurt my pacifist heart.  I have no solid solutions for what ails America.  I only marvel at what brings people out.

There is no fee to cast a ballot.  Taking part is free!  Maybe we should charge an exorbitant price to vote.  In this culture, many conclude if they do not have to pay to participate, the event has no value.  If the cost is high, people might think the election is the main event.  We all want to be part of where the action is.

Tickets for the Super Bowl can climb into the thousands.  Some are expecting to pay close to six thousand dollars, [$5385 - $5695.]  Then there is airfare, hotel costs, and transportation expenses to consider; zowie!!  What more can I say; I will see you at the game or not.  If you venture to the polls, I will be there.

Sources for those contemplating Super Bowl Mania . . .

  • Official Super Bowl XLI Site.  NFL Enterprises LLC
  • Super Bowl XLI - Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts Tickets.  StubHub.
  • "Super Bowl" Search.  Google
  • Betsy L. Angert
    BeThink.org

    Originally posted to Bcgntn; BeThink on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 04:23 PM PST.

    EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
    Your Email has been sent.
    You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

    Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
    Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

    ?

    More Tagging tips:

    A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

    Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

    If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

    Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

    Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

    You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
    Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
    Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
    Rescue this diary, and add a note:
    Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
    Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

    You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

    Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
    Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
    (The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
    (The diary will be removed.)
    Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

    Comment Preferences

    •  Go Vote! Go Peace! Go Progressives! n/t (5+ / 0-)

      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
      BeThink

      by Bcgntn on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 04:21:56 PM PST

    •  Don't Get Me Started - - (4+ / 0-)

      When various Kossacks start pounding their chests about one team or the other - as if it really means anything - I can only wince.  The whole NFL and Superbowl thing is the ultimate example of "Bread & Circuses" while the empire falls apart.  

      And another sad note - -
      Except for a few famous players, many players end up destitute - -

      http://www.blackathlete.net/...

      http://www.bizjournals.com/...

      •  Wince away... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        possum

        Perhaps sports are not of ultimate meaning. But I am sure there are things that you enjoy that are not of ultimate meaning either. People enjoy a lot of things, and sports are just one of them.

        While some NFL players squander their money, it is far from the case that all but a few famous players end up destitute. You hear about the most famous players, and you hear about those who blow all their money, but you don't hear about the majority of players who were neither superstars nor waste all of their money. It's just not very newsworthy when someone gets paid a lot of money and doesn't lose it all.

        It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

        by A Citizen on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 05:49:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So - - - (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bcgntn, possum

          You favor city, county, and state governments' underwriting the costs of new stadiums under blackmail threats from NFL owners  - when basic social programs go begging?

          Just to name one concrete issue of funding - -
          and how professional sports impacts the social fabric.

          I have nothing against sports.  
          I wish MORE people would participate and fewer would watch.  But there's a big difference between the summer softball league and the Super Bowl.  And in those differences you will see many of the issues addressed here at DKos.

      •  much to consider beyond moments of fame. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        possum

        Dear johnnygunn . . .

        I think I am experiencing as you observed.  Few are bothering to discuss this treatise.  Ranting against America's past time, competitive pleasures, otherwise known as sportsmanship, may be touching the third rail.

        The links you offer are interesting.  I often muse over the idea of the ideal career, which involves being beaten and battered, physically and emotionally.  Why is that considered so attractive?  Rarely do professional players achieve as they had expected.  There is much to consider beyond moments of fame.

        It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
        BeThink

        by Bcgntn on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 06:29:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many Times - - (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bcgntn, possum

          Some of the most provocative issues hit too close to home.  Many of us speak about the need to end sweatshop-labor practices worldwide - - yet we purchase things that, by their prices, have to made in such conditions.  Many of us talk about environmental ethics - - yet our houses are twice the size of our grandparents' with half the number of people living in them.

          Sure, I like the guacamole and chips during the Super Bowl and the office pools during the NCAA Tourney as much as anybody - - but the reality is that pro sports have extremely insideous impacts on our society - both for what they do and for what they cover up. (And I consider college sports professionalized when a football coach can command a $45M salary package.)

          Pico posted a fabulous diary a year or two ago about the problem of progressives always having to weigh every action.
          http://www.dailykos.com/...
          It's hilarious - but too true.

          Thanks for a subtle and thoughful diary.

        •  Not a third rail. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnnygunn, possum

          Touching the third rail generally involves sparks flying. No sparks, no third rail.

          A career in professional sports is a long shot, but is it that different from a career in acting? Most people don't make it, and wind up remaining waiting tables until they give up. Granted, failed actors don't generally get tackled by 300 pound players.

          For a lot of players, the college scholarship is the real prize. College players can be powerfully motivated to play for an old clay jug or a bronze pig. I played football in high school, but I didn't have any expectations that I would be able to play in college at any level.

          There's nothing wrong with ambition, so long as you don't bet everything on making it all the way. Colleges aren't doing anyone any favors by letting players squander their chance at a degree.

          I generally do not attend NFL games. The tickets, which used to be affordable by the average person, have gotten out of control. I do go to at least a few college games a year.

          It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

          by A Citizen on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 07:32:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Electric Cars and Air America (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bcgntn, possum

      Ever notice the size of cars/trucks advertised on football Sunday?
      And the political pedigree of the major advertisers?
      Many of the companies on the Air America blacklist are big-time NFL advertisers.

      I wish that we could just enjoy a game, too.
      But the reality is that it is all linked.

      •  NFL advertisers and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnnygunn, possum

        Dear Johnnygunn . . .

        I truly thought these issues energized Progressives.

        Pro sports stadiums don't bolster local economies, scholars say
        By Melissa Mitchell, News Editor

        CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — If you build it, they will come … with wallets bulging, eager to exchange greenbacks for peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and beer, and T-shirts and ball caps with team logos.



        At least that’s the theory embraced – time and time again – by mayors and city council members hoping to lure professional sports teams to their cities by promising to build new arenas for the teams. But one guy who’s not buying it is sports economist Brad Humphreys, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



        That’s because Humphreys and colleague Dennis Coates, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, haven’t uncovered a single instance in which the presence of a professional sports team has been linked to a boost in the local economy.



        “Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy,” Humphreys and Coates wrote in a report issued last month by the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. The institute commissioned the professors to study the economic impact of a deal proposed by Anthony Williams, the mayor of Washington, D.C.; under terms of the agreement, the Major Baseball League would move the Montreal Expos to the nation’s capital in exchange for a new, city-built ballpark.



        The professors based their report on new data as well as previously published research in which they analyzed economic indicators from 37 major metropolitan areas with major-league baseball, football and basketball teams.



        “The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area,” Humphreys and Coates noted in the report.



        The researchers found other patterns consistent with the presence of pro sports teams. Among them:

• a statistically significant negative impact on the retail and services sectors of the local economy, including an average net loss of 1,924 jobs;

• an increase in wages in the hotels and other lodgings sector (about $10 per worker year), but a reduction in wages in bars and restaurants (about $162 per worker per year).
Those employed in the amusements and recreation sector appeared, at first glance, to benefit significantly from the presence of a pro team, with an average annual salary increase of $490 per worker, Humphreys said. However, he added, “this sector includes the professional athletes whose annual salaries certainly raise the average salary in this sector by an enormous amount.


        
As it turns out, those workers most closely connected with the sports environment who were not professional athletes saw little improvement in their earnings as a result of the local professional sports environment.” 

Humphreys, who plans to present data from the report at a Nov. 29 hearing in Washington, D.C., said it is fairly common for city officials – blinded by bright visions of dollar signs – to pose as cheerleaders for projects aimed at attracting pro teams.



        Arena-funding measures vary from initiative to initiative, with taxpayers typically covering most of the tab – even though critics of such plans maintain that team owners could easily foot the bill themselves. In the Expos case, Humphreys said, the mayor of Washington, D.C., has promoted his plan by stating that the ballpark would be funded entirely by team owners, ballpark users and the district’s largest businesses, and not by residents’ tax dollars.



        Humphreys called the proposal a “novel approach,” but discounted it as disingenuous. “To say taxpayers won’t pay for the construction is really a sin of omission,” he said. 

“First, the team’s share of financing the stadium is a 30-year lease committing the team to an initial rent of $3.5 million each year, increasing to $5 million by the fifth year, and then increasing by 2 percent minus $10,000 per year thereafter,” Humphreys and Coates note in their report. But, in real terms, with inflation averaging a projected 3 percent over 30 years, taxpayers will in reality be handing the team what the researchers call a “de facto rent subsidy” in just five years.



        “Second,” they state, “taxes will be collected on ticket sales, concessions, parking, and merchandise sold within the stadium.


        It is likely that the District of Columbia residents who purchase food, beverages, and clothing while attending games would have chosen to eat and purchase clothes in the district – and pay taxes on those purchases – in the absence of the stadium and franchise. In other words, revenues generated inside the stadium may not be new revenues, even if they are dedicated specifically to paying for the new stadium.



        Humphreys and Coates also take exception to the idea that corporate “ballpark fees” would shield residents from the costs involved. “Whether it is a surcharge or an increase in the corporate income tax rate, this so-called fee is a tax increase, pure and simple. Corporations do not pay taxes, people do. 

Whether it is in the form of lower wages for workers, lower asset values for corporate owners, or higher prices for consumers of the goods and services those companies provide, this tax increase will touch D.C. residents in some way.”



        Funding structures aside, Humphreys said government officials lobbying for stadium deals often base perceived economic benefits on flawed impact studies. In the D.C. case, the researchers report that the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development claimed the team and ballpark would create 30 jobs earning an annual total of $94 million – or a whopping $261,111 per job.



        “The wonder is that anyone finds such figures credible,” Humphreys said. “Yet decade after decade, cities throughout the country have struggled to attract or keep professional sports teams, and the idea that a team brings with it large economic gains invariably arises. As it turns out, claims of large tangible economic benefits do not withstand scrutiny.”

        It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
        BeThink

        by Bcgntn on Thu Feb 01, 2007 at 06:54:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

    Click here for the mobile view of the site