Volume 3, Number 2
The Party's Over...
By Dean Shutt
The Super Bowl is over and done, only the Pro Bowl remains to be played. The Pro Bowl doesn't really count though. When it comes right down to it, the Pro Bowl is an intramural contest that probably shouldn't be televised at all. Every year the commentators complain that the players don't put forth enough effort. Every year they complain that the players don't take the game seriously. What they never ask is why should the players take this game seriously? Do they honestly think that anyone outside their little fraternity takes this game seriously? For the players it is an all-expenses paid vacation in Hawaii. For the fans it is a goodbye that lasts too long. We know that we will be disappointed by it yet we tune in anyway. One last lingering look as the NFL rolls out of town for another year. It is a tradition to which we've all become accustomed. The Superbowl has either fulfilled our dreams or crushed them. We have invested our emotional well being in a group of strangers wearing garish outfits for the past four months. This is our chance to watch a football game with no emotional commitment. To watch a contest that will leave us with no lingering scars. It's difficult to find even the hardest of the hard-core that can tell you the score of last year's Pro Bowl. As a matter of fact if you do find such a person you would be wise to have him committed. Anyone that can take the Pro Bowl seriously is just waiting to snap.
That is why the football gods have prescribed no rituals of worship for the Pro Bowl. They realize that we all must say goodbye in their own way. I myself rarely if ever watch the game. I am of the opinion that for this one day the players ought to be left alone to just play. There is simply too much pressure to win at all costs throughout the year. It is a very rare player that enjoy this wonderful game under those conditions. In the preseason it is about winning a job. In the regular season it is about winning a game. In the postseason it is about winning it all. Only in the Pro Bowl is it about having fun with your peers with no real pressure to perform. It is your ability to perform that has gotten you here, there is no need to prove it again.
I would make a suggestion to all of my fellow fans out there for this Pro Bowl weekend. Go outside, read a book, take walk, spend time with your wife or family. We have all proved our worth over this long NFL campaign. Those of us, like myself and several friends had our dreams crushed early this year. We hung in there though (well OK, I actually bailed for the middle portion, but I never missed a day of worship) and stayed throughout till the end. Others had teams that took them to the brink of the ultimate prize. Only to have them falter in the final weeks. A lucky few in the vicinity of Denver have tasted the prize this season. To them I say congratulations. The key thing is this, we have all done all that has been asked of us this season. We have suffered, we have rejoiced and we have worshipped before the football gods. Most importantly we have all earned a well deserved rest.
Besides - spring training, the NHL playoffs, the NBA playoffs and Roller Hockey are only a few weeks away...