Birds of Prey.
Feed on small game.
Big game—not so much.
The best word I’ve heard used to describe the Super Bowl experience was “brutal.” We were so close to a celebration this city hasn’t enjoyed since the Braves World Series in 1995. And then we weren’t.
When the Patriots scored their winning TD, I was glad we were home alone. It was not a time to party with friends. I was in no mood to be polite. I needed to explore a vocabulary not often used among proper Presbyterians.
I recall in the era of Super Bowls XV – XXV (a.k.a., the eighties) if you didn’t receive multiple invitations to Super Bowl parties, you were a social outcast. Super Bowl Sunday was more than a sporting event; it was party time: New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo combined. (Plus my birthday, of course, which will soon be declared a National Holiday.) Nobody watched the game alone.
I found no one who was planning to attend a Super Bowl party this year. One exception—a couple going to their son’s home, just family.
Robert Putnam saw that coming in his book, Bowling Alone (Simon & Shuster, 2001). Putnam observed that local bowling leagues, once flourishing, have become almost non-existent. About as many people still bowl, but they do so individually, not in leagues.
We do more and more things alone, disconnected, detached. It’s become more comfortable ordering a pizza and watching in the privacy of our own room.
Which is no big thing, except that it’s un-Godly. “It is not good for one to be alone,” was the second observation God made about humans. (The first was “And God saw that it (the newly-made human) was very good!”) At our core, we are desperate to belong. One of the things God wants from Christians is to help rebuild the relational nature of our lives.
My faith challenges me to resist my introvert self and connect with other people. A friendly smile in the aisles of the grocery store. A couple of sentences with the person on the next stationery bike in the Spin class. (Actually, one sentence. After that I don’t have the breath to speak.) An out-of-my-comfort-zone attempt to get to know the two neighbors who’ve recently moved into my cul-de-sac.
“Fry on Friday” is about how I practice my faith. This weekend, I intend to consciously connect with folks, whether I get an opportunity or have to create an opportunity. I have no intention of “witnessing” to anybody, but connecting itself is a God-thing.
Next year, I’ll celebrate the Falcon’s Super Bowl victory among a room full of friends.