Monday, February 4, 2008

Moving From Super (Bowl) Sunday on to Super Tuesday

My Super Bowl Sunday with some SEXY Victoria's Secret Model
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Monday, February 4, 2008, New York City:

My Super (Bowl) Sunday was spent taking photos on the streets of New York City.

While most other New Yorkers were indoors cheering on the home team to victory, I was reveling in the brisk clear night, along with a handful of foreign tourists who were likely interested in a different kind of foot-ball.

Since the boys were at the end of a weeklong bout of illness, we spent the weekend indoors watching The Music Man, The Maltese Falcon and Thumtantic. So, when I dropped them off with their mama in Jersey on Sunday night, I decided to get some exercise by walking home to 108th Street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street.

I could have joined the vast majority of my fellow New Yorkers, and arrived a little late to one of the Super Bowl parties I had been invited to, but, unfortunately, I‘ve had a lifelong bout with not-being-a-sports-fan per se. I love playing them, but I’m just not inclined toward simply watching from the sidelines.

Of course, there are always exceptions. For, now that both the boys are involved in sports—Nicky in the kind of fútbol that rest of the world plays, and Enzo in wrestling—as a proud father, I watch and cheer enthusiastically.

However, when it comes to the big boys playing, I’ll usually pass. I think the most memorable professional games for me were the few San Francisco Giants games I attended with my father in sixth grade when I received a number of complimentary tickets for superior academic performance. But then again, the thrill wasn’t the game, it wasn’t so much the excitement of possibly catching a foul ball, but rather, it was simply the fact that I got to spend time with my father and the great sense of pride that came with earning the tickets, because I was apt to have my nose in books.

Well, today I’m supposed to swell with pride over a different set of Giants.

Alas, I only saw a few minutes of the game as I passed the Jumbotron in Times Square last night. But even then, I wasn’t really watching, for I found the crowd watching the game from the street far more intriguing than what was happening high up above on the screen.

Not being a sports fan has its problems though.

First, there is a certain kind of loneliness you’re going to feel when you opt out of the traditional social gatherings set about the TV. This can be especially true when you’re walking the streets of Manhattan at night alone and there are dozens of people screaming like mad from the windows.

My primary consolation is an attitude that can be summed up in something that Professor Harold Hill (Robert Preston) said to Marion in The Music Man, when he was trying to woo her into meeting him at the bridge by the brook:

“Oh, my dear librarian, you pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find you’ve collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”

Thus, perhaps somewhat arrogantly, I tend to abscond the chance to socialize when it comes to baseball and football and the like. Instead, I often choose to pursue the opportunity to make my time here memorable by indulging in what has made my life most meaningful over the last couple of years—street photography.

Alas, albeit minor, the troubles of being such a social misfit, often continue into the next day when everyone is talking about the game and you have no clue as to what, when or who. This morning I’ve had to lie a lot because the strange looks and shocked remarks you get when you answer truthfully begin to gnaw at you.

After one too many crooked necks rhetorically implore, “You didn’t watch the game?,” you begin to realize that it is best to just lie a little, because no one wants to hear that you didn’t do what everyone else was doing, especially if they themselves were doing it.

Admittedly though, I’m fairly used to it by now.

A few years ago I was sitting at a bar with corporate counsel waiting to negotiate a contract, when a commercial for football came on, on the set looming above. He asked what I thought about a so-and-so team. With a grin, disguised as a sincere and coy smile, I confessed, "Sorry, I'm not much of a sports fan…love to play, but rather not just sit and watch." He responded, "You must miss out on a lot of conversations. It's such a great ice-breaker." I thought to myself, "Well, I probably don't miss much." Nonetheless, we somehow still managed to have an interesting conversation at the bar that afternoon, while we waited.

And allthemore, I feel that by not being much of a spectator I’m apt to not to miss out on something a little more important to me—having a chance to play in my own game, to revel in my own little triumphs, choosing to live, rather than die a slow death in front of the television.

I fully realize that this may sound a bit smug—believe it or not, it is not really meant to be—I don’t fancy myself better than anyone else at all, but I will admit that by professing my doings and don’ts that I do hope to inspire others to likewise forgo the party every once in a while; to take the risk of jumping into the game, rather than safely watching it from afar; in other words, to work a little harder at fulfilling their dreams by executing their passions—so that, ultimately, they might look back happily, rather than lament the lot of empty yesterdays.


Speaking of what one can do to make life more meaningful, there is a lot of hoopla over Obama these days.

I darted students passing out fliers in the streets this morning and I have friends sending me links to Black Eyed Peas videos of songs made from rallying speeches by Barack: Yes, we can (change).

As I was explaining to my 8-year old Enzo last night at the dinner table, who happens to be writing a report on JFK, the current presidential candidates have been vying to stoke the passions of people by comparing themselves to the mythical politicians of the past—for the Republicans, that would be Reagan, and for the Democrats, it has been John F. Kennedy.

To complement our discussion, I read the Sunday Times Op-Ed piece by Frank Rich ( Ask Not What J.F.K. Can Do for Obama). In sum, he writes that Obama appeals to the masses because he is poetic and people are yearning for a change, much as people yearned for change more than 40 years ago when JFK was elected, despite the overwhelming odds against him.

However, Rich also argues that while Barack Obama is proselytizing from the podium, Hilary Rodham Clinton has a lot more practical experience fighting in the trenches of the political battlefield, and that, ultimately, this is the kind of experience that might lead to meaningful change.

Either way, don’t forget to vote on Super Tuesday—because indeed it will lead to change, one way or another.

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and realistic. Too often we hold fast to to the clichés of our forebears.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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