Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mom didn’t follow sports but she loved sports. The folklore of it, the mythology, traditions. The idea that people could get so happy about nothing at all. Or get so sad.

For the Super Bowl in 1979 we were at our neighbors up the street, the kid I’d been friends with all my life, Henry. The parents were having proper pre-dinner cocktails in the living room while Henry and I watched the game at the kitchen table. That was what went down in a house in a little college town with four grownups who didn’t give a fuck about football.

At a certain point my mom walked in and asked us who was playing. She didn’t even know who was playing on the goddamned day of the game.

“Cowboys and Steelers,” I said, with some idiotic pride, like I was in the know.

Without the slightest hesitation she said: “GO STEELERS.”

She knew, instinctively or through some convoluted experience, that the Dallas Cowboys were despicable and the Pittsburgh Steelers were worthy of love and support.

Until that moment I had no real idea of my own. I’d grown up without TV because this is how my parents chose to express themselves. To take their stand against vulgar American commercialism and conformity, dragging their children up alongside them. So today I was happy enough to watch any kind of flickering pixels on a screen, be they white and silver or black and gold.

But the moment my mom said that I knew she was right. One team is obviously, always, fundamentally, morally superior to the other. Cowboys suck.

So I rooted for the Steelers and they won.