Today is just about as perfect a day as you can get. At 77F degrees, it is a warm day. A gentle sea breeze rustles glistening palm fronds. A few deciduous trees have bright-green leaves. Camellias, fruit trees, and bulbs are blooming. The apricot tree is covered with snowy blossoms that will turn into golf-ball-size fruit that is so succulent the juice runs down your chin. The sky is a cloudless clear blue. I’ve seen my first grasshopper, lizard, and monarch butterfly. The blue jay has returned to the feeder. There is not much traffic in the neighborhood. Birdsong fills the warm air, but the mockingbird who sang through much of the night is thankfully resting. Peace abounds.
And yet, in a few minutes, just 50 miles away, Superbowl LVI will begin. In my mind I see bright slashes of color, pulsating lights, and amped-up spectators, performers, and athletes. I hear the familiar rhythm of the anthem, the collective moans of disappointment, and the cheers of joy. And I imagine the energy that is radiating out to innumerable households. An anticipated glitzy festival of high-powered emotion is finally here!
When I was six years old, my sisters, in their late teens and early twenties, watched the Los Angeles Rams play football on our 8-inch television screen in the enormous blond-wood cabinet. And believe me, there was a lot of passion in the room. My little-girl self was curious about this behavior, but bored with the cause. My roller skates beckoned, and I was off to collect another scar on my knee. Later, I would discover the fast-paced world and excitement of professional sports—just not today.
Today is about changing seasons and soaking in nature. And so John and I took the dogs on a long walk on almost deserted sidewalks—separately, of course.
When we returned, we settled down to read in our family room, but the very large television screen was winking at me. It seemed almost sacrilegious to turn it on. Would it spoil the day? An inner dialogue started. The Rams do practice at my alma mater a mere 3 miles away, and many live in the area. A glance outside confirmed that the sun was going to set soon, and so I asked John, “What do you think? Maybe we could catch the last half.”
What would be better than a gorgeous early spring day sprinkled with some good old over-the-top American sportsmanship and entertainment slathered with a healthy dose of capitalism? And we should support the home team, right? Go, Rams!
We succumbed just as the third quarter started. After unsuccessfully trying to watch the game on the TV, we had to downsize because we don’t have network TV. We ended up watching on my 9.5 x 6.5 iPad, which ironically mirrors the 8-inch screen of my childhood. Still, the picture was crystal clear, and the game was heart-racingly exciting right down to the decisive last minutes.
In case you don’t know (spoiler alert!), the final score was Rams: 23, Tigers: 20.
When the game ended, after the cheering and jumping around, the dogs and I did a victory dance around the family room. You just have to do something with all that feel-good adrenalin and serotonin.
By then, it was time to eat something. So John opened a bottle of champagne and a bag of Hawaiian potato chips, and we went outside to enjoy our decadent feast. As twilight faded into night, we sipped and snacked and watched the lights of the neighborhood appear. The almost-full moon illuminated the silhouette of the Santa Monica Mountains, and a few stars were visible. Yes, an excellent day filled with a mixture of the artificial and natural, the peaceful and exciting, beginnings and endings. And I thought, It’s good to be an American. And it’s really good to be a Rams fan today.