The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl yesterday.
I live in New England, in fact I live within earshot of Gillette Stadium.
I am a Patriots fan and enjoy watching the games during the season.
I too cheered all the big plays and when they won the game.
It is a pleasant distraction, a regalement.
But, I could do with a little perspective, please.
I watched the run-up to this game.
Afterwards I watched the awards ceremony and the after shows and the news and then more news and over and over I saw the vainglorious players heaping praise upon themselves.
I saw the fans and sycophantic sportscasters lavishing superlatives upon their heroes.
“The greatest of all time.”
“A great band of brothers.”
“Heroes and conquering champions.”
This grand display of some imagined esprit de corps is lamentable as it seems they believe that that which they have done actually means anything to anyone. In reality it furthers no cause either great or small; it is entirely inconsequential.
They did not cure cancer.
They did not save the world from Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Socialism or tyranny.
They did not fight on smoke-obscured battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day in the cause of ending the great human scourge of slavery.
They are not RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain whose actual life expectancy was just four weeks on average but who still flew every mission asked of them.
They are not the generation of American youth who answered the call and boarded landing craft to die by the thousands on foreign beaches with names such as Juno, Utah, Sword, Gold and Omaha so that others would be free from genocidal maniacs and an untimely end in the death camps.
They are not the F-105 Thud pilots in Vietnam who were required to fly 100 missions “Downtown” even though there was a greater than 50% chance they would not complete the tour and they would be shot down to die alone in a foreign jungle or be captured and tortured for years.
They do not run into burning buildings to carry out children, the elderly, the injured and unconscious.
They do not run towards the gunfire to save others from evil doers in schools, in banks, in malls or wherever or whenever they are called.
They do not comfort the dying or try to put people back together in emergency rooms after horrible tragedies and traumas befall them.
Rather, they run, carrying a ball across some arbitrary line, while other men try to knock them down.
They do this for massive remuneration and adulation which they receive in abundance.
In reality, beyond its contrived spontaneity, its diversionary amusement, none of it matters.
These events are the canaries in the coalmine that is our country. There is something amiss when the victory parade for a sports team will draw one million people while police officers are vilified by politicians and the mainstream media.
There is something amiss when the proposed parade to honor the men and women of our armed forces gets widely denigrated by the media and an entire political party.
There is something amiss when many, who may be alive because of these men, have no idea who Louis Pasteur, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, Edward Jenner, Maurice Hilleman are.
Let’s try to keep in mind those things, those people, those accomplishments that really matter.
If sports celebrities can command such festive jubilations certainly the people that made an actual difference in other people’s lives are worth some minor acknowledgment of our gratitude and respect.
Enjoy the entertainment of the Super Bowl, yes, but for the sake of all that is good and holy, have a little perspective and hold dear those things that actually matter.
The millionaire sports figures will be just fine without our servile flattery.