Regardless of who you root for, the Super Bowl still has the power to bring people together for the shared experiences of socializing, arguing, eating and of course, football.
In today’s world of On Demand, customized playlists and live streaming, we have much fewer common experiences. The days of a family gathering around to listen to a radio show are positively old fashioned and sitting down in the family room together for a show or movie is also getting more rare.
I’m not necessarily saying this is bad. Much of it is great. You will not hear me complain on a long car trip when every person has their own device that plays the music, games and movies that person wants to hear, on headphones. The silence of no one arguing about the movie or the radio station or the chatter of another does not bother me.
Sometimes the only arguing takes place when someone decides to sing along, loudly, to music only he can hear.
There is little arguing at home when everyone has the power to listen to or watch what they want when they want. If you don’t get a television, no problem. Grab a laptop, iPad or smartphone.
Sometimes we try to watch something together. For a while, a subset of our family decided to start watching episodes of Dexter, from the beginning of season one, but it was nearly impossible to stay together on this. Some people have become current, others are slightly behind and some have dropped out completely.
Sometimes, we can have a great discussion. Other times, people have to leave the room to prevent spoilers for the others.
While all these choices and options are great and no one has to worry about missing something when she has a test or sports practice, there are times when I long for the shared experience and I wonder if we are losing something as a society when we all get what we want without any argument or negotiation. We don’t always get the benefit of being convinced to try something new. And, we don’t have the joy of criticism, analysis and discussion after.
That’s why I treasure those rare moments in the car on a long trip when your child discovers the greatness of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac or admits that he too likes Bedtime Magic with David Allan Boucher.
And, there are times when we can surprise our children, even if we are over 40 or 50 years old, by knowing the lyrics to some of their songs. They are always so shocked.
That brings me back to the few sacred cows. No one wants to watch the Super Bowl alone on a smart phone. No one wants to watch it the next day. And, even those that may not really want to watch it at all, will still want to gather with friends and family for the food. It’s all good.