Tuesday, February 16, 2010

still sick from super bowl fever

It's been a week and some change since Super Bowl XLIV. On the day of, I couldn't decide who I liked better, since I didn't have a stake in either team. I long for the good old days of the Dallas Cowboys dominating; still on that bandwagon 15 years or so later.

On one side we had Payton Manning, looking to cement his place as the greatest quarterback of all time, with his buddy's: the Indianapolis Colts. On the other was the sentimental favorite, never been to the big dance before, recovering from hurricane Katrina (the media went over the top with this story), underdogs: the New Orleans Saints.

I practically flipped a coin and ended up backing the Colts. A poor decision in retrospect. The Saints arose victorious 31-17. It's amazing, with no real invested interest in the outcome, aside from the "choice" to support the Colts just before kick off, still I found myself cheering for my team more and more vociferously as the game went on. I felt sometimes as if I were one of the sheeple in 1984 ecstatically chanting: "B-B, B-B, B-B."

Once we've made up our minds (or perhaps I should speak only for myself in this instance), it would seem that confirmation bias kicks in almost instantly. Decision's aren't always made as explicitly or haphazardly as I did with this one. I stood to gain nothing if my pick had proven successful, accept possibly basking in the reflected glory of the victors, which would have been denied my mates (who supported the opposing) team and allowed myself the opportunity to make their lives a tad more miserable.

Every point scored by my boys, brought exultant cheers on my part, every perceived slight by the refs or the opposition incurred my unholy wrath. Is everything just an elaborate version of the emperor's new clothes? We see things that just aren't there (did I mention that I don't think the church is "True", just thought I'd slip that in there, and in the interest of fairness I still think overall the church is good, yep there's no escaping my strange relationship with Mormonism). I don't know if we can ever really step out of ourselves and look back reflexively, because our internal value system will always color what we see. Freedom is constrained by the limitations of our own prejudice. Perhaps I'm just looking for ways to escape my own being, in search of unifying myself with something larger. Anyways, in future, I'll do well to make choices based on more than chance.

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