Yesterday was Super Bowl LV. Traditionally a food fest full of alcoholic beverage consumption, this year’s game was unlike any other. And it wasn’t just because of the streaker who made it on to the field.
Unlike other Super Bowls, Sue and I didn’t come up with a pigskin pairings party post. I didn’t even take any photos of our food, wine, and beer. Because of COVID, it just wasn’t that kind of event this year.
In fact, this Super Bowl is so different that even Bruce Springsteen made an appearance– with his 1980 Jeep.
But first, it can’t have escaped your attention that Super Bowl LV (or 55 if you’re not fluent in Roman numerals) looks a lot like LIVE.
Almost a half million people who may have watched the Super Bowl LIV last year did not live to see Super Bowl LV; more people have died in the US from the COVID pandemic than died in World War II. Worldwide, 2.3 million people have died. Of the 27 million cases in the US and 106 million cases worldwide, many of these people have yet to or may never fully recover. At this point, we have all been touched by illness or death by COVID; Super Bowl parties may never be the same.
The LV Super Bowl logo certainly emphasizes this connection by posting a football on a pedestal between the L and the V — which looks a lot like a “I” to spell out LIV. The fact that last year’s logo looked even more like LIVE didn’t even cross my mind; we weren’t in the throes of a deadly pandemic at the time.
Here in Southern California, people are gathering mostly outdoors to watch the game in much smaller gatherings than ever before. No wonder Governor Newsom hasn’t opened bars yet.
While we may not be sticking out hands into a communal pot of chili as in the SNL skit, we may or may not be grabbing chips out of a communal bowl and dipping them into the same bowl of dip.
But more critically, we all know people who aren’t watching the game with us this year or ever, or who might be there but that beer tastes like fermented funk, or they can’t walk up the flight of stairs to the house without running out of breath, or they have “COVID toes” like my son did.
Fortunately, the new administration in the White House is taking COVID seriously — and there’s a vaccination that is getting into the arms of more and more people– Hallelujah!
We still have a long way to go, but it seems like we are finding that holiest of place, middle ground, and we are working together to help move our society from the nightmare it has been in to somewhere different, somewhere healthier for mind, body, soul– of people and planet.
“It’s no secret. The middle has been a hard place to get to lately.”
And that somewhere different includes a Super Bowl ad by Bruce Springsteen that includes the text above and the text below (cited below from “How Bruce Springsteen Agreed To Do a Super Bowl Commercial for Jeep” by Brian Steinberg in Variety):
“We just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” Springsteen says as he holds forth from a small chapel in Lebanon, Kansas, with his own 1980 Jeep CJ-5 in the picture. He adds: “Our light has always found its way through the darkness. And there’s hope up on the road ahead.” The ad ends with the tagline, “To The ReUnited States of America.”
These are unusual times. And the text for this ad, and more importantly, the story it tells, spoke to Bruce, and after years of saying no, no matter how much money, he finally said yes to saying this:
“Fear has never been the best of who we are, and as for freedom, it’s not the property of the fortunate few, it belongs to us all.”
But as the Washington Post points out, “Despite the healing sound of his voice, Springsteen is ultimately preaching reconciliation without reckoning — which after January’s Capitol siege is no longer an acceptable path toward progress.”
We shall see…
As someone who writes about what is considered “luxury” products, I’d love to see some economic reckoning to allow wine, food, and travel to be in reach of everyone. Discovering “foreign” foods, wine, and lands is a great way to bring us together.
Not to engage in “Toxic Positivity” but the middle ground may not be in Kansas after all.
The middle ground is within each of us.
And we don’t have to travel too far to get there.
Coming up: bubbles from France, bubbles from Italy, and later this month bubbles from Spain as we celebrate life and love.