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Observations > Beyond The Bean Dip

Every year, two rival camps form around one momentous occasion: the Super Bowl. First, we have the football fans. Whether you’re diehard or not is unimportant. It also does not matter if your team of choice happens to be playing. If you know how many points a “safety” earns, you are in this camp. Second, we have the spectators. This group is a little more diverse: people that come for the bean dip, people that come for the commercials, significant others of football fans who come to appease them or pretend like they care, all fall into this group. Surrounded by theater students of both camps, the dramatics ran rampant during last year's game. Somewhere between a double fumble and when we ran out of pudding, it occurred to me that there must be some common denominator here. I couldn’t help but wonder, while praying for the next touchdown, were we losing touch with the bigger picture?

The (Somewhat) Hidden Lessons of the Super Bowl

1) Set small goals toward the achievement of the big picture. Although successful running plays are always swell to watch, the majority of the game is won in small chunks. The game itself is structured accordingly, ten yards at a time. Remember to give equal weight to your short-term goals (crossing that computer generated yellow line) and your long term goals (the end zone.)

2) Teamwork is an essential part of life. The MVPs may get all the glory at the end of the day, but they couldn’t have gotten anywhere without the team. Anyone who has ever played any sport on any level has been told that a “ball hog” is the easiest way to lose a game. Why? Because it gives your opponents one focal point. Successful teams achieve their goals by distributing the duties. Remember also to find a role that suits your particular talent. The punter is just as essential as the wide receiver, but only in his own specialty.

3) Congratulate yourself for a job well done.The Super Bowl has enough dancing players to be a prom. They dance in the end zone, after key tackles, when the other team fumbles. They practically break into Michael Jackson’s Thriller after interceptions. And everyone watching may chuckle a little at the display, but no one takes offense. Why? Because they know the dance was earned. Better yet, the diehards at home and teammates on the field dance along. They pat each other on the back (or rear). They share in the joy of other’s accomplishments. You certainly are not required to pound your chest like a gorilla after finishing your laundry, but do take time to celebrate your own achievements.

4) When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. No game was won with running plays alone. Coaches and quarterbacks get the big bucks to lead the team in creative ways. When you find you’re stuck in a rut, get creative! Bring out your own “special teams” and try something a little unusual. This, if nothing else, will provide a new perspective of the task at hand.

5) Most importantly, take a timeout to laugh. There is a reason advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars for seconds during the game. They know stresses are high during such an important game, and can capitalize on it easily. All they need to do is make the viewers laugh. I cannot tell you the last names of more than three players on either team, but I can easily quote the funniest commercials of the night. A little laughter is both effective and memorable. And best of all, unlike the big advertisers’ products, laughter is free! You can enjoy its life-lightening, stress-relieving power anytime.

Remember that trite saying some famous coach said sometime (and every coach has quoted ever since), “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Diehard fans will tell you “football is life.” If you combine these common sentiments, you get the idea that life, itself, is a game. And games, after all, are meant to be played.

(For an enjoyment jumpstart, watch the funniest Super Bowl commercials here:

2008 New Perspectives. Permission to copy this article is granted as long as the authors are notified and the following information is included:

Annie Passanisi is the daughter of motivational speaker Kathleen Passanisi. If that does not tell you enough about her, she is also a Chicago-based actor, singer, freelance writer and editor, 1950s pop culture enthusiast, and swingset champion. For more information, please visit www.TheAnniePassanisi.com.