Monday, February 6, 2012

Tom Brady and Buddhism

Tom Brady, then 

Sports Heroes and Buddhism

Yesterday I went to a noisy, delicious, comforting Superbowl party with a bunch of rich and gracious white people I like a lot. 

Why is Superbowl a huge national holiday? Why do we care what Tom Brady has to say, much less what his wife was wearing?

Because it seems real!  We crave entertainment, and watch carefully crafted TV, where local news just titillates and even national news sensationalizes to attract us. We like endless spinoffs of Law and Order, which are no more the product of a stranger's imagination, acted out to please or soothe us.  We know reality shows are as a real as  spectacle wrestling, and even more scripted and tightly produced. 

Sports, at least, have an unknown outcome. You can pick a team and imagine that they are your surrogates, defending your honor and winning the day. They are highly skilled  and perform at levels beyond most humans, and we can marvel at their talent. They are rich, and often young and strong. Sometimes they fall, like gods who fly to close to the sun, but that absorbs us too.  While they are not as real as our neighbors and families, they are much more so than characters in TV dramas, and have real spouses and kids and probably buy fire insurance.

I have to discuss this with a teacher, but I think that any entertainment that  edifies and challenges and enhances compassion and attention cannot be a bad thing. Entertainment that simply comforts or anesthetizes would not be as good a use of time.  

A Superbowl game, can of course be either, depending on who is watching it, and that's the point