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Lessons From The Super Bowl

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – FEBRUARY 03: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, fans cheer for Super Bowl XLVII MVP Malcolm Smith of the Seattle Seahawks during his parade at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort on February 3, 2014 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. A linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, he helped to lead the team to a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Smith is the first defensive player to appear in one of the iconic “I’m Going to Disney World!” commercials. (Photo by Kent Phillips/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

What can we take away from this year’s Super Bowl? It wasn’t a very close game but Super Bowl games rarely are. Only 15 of the previous games have been decided by seven points or less. What did we really see on that day other than a blowout?

The Road Less Traveled

Thirty teams didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. Only two teams were able to excel during their 16 game season plus playoff games to earn the right to meet in the big show. Earned being the first operative word for this exercise. Denver and Seattle both had the opportunity to win the game. One team prepared and executed their game plan and the other did not. Now we have a second word in the equation — prepared.

The Super Bowl Mirrors Real Life

If I’ve learned one thing in my years on this earth it’s this — life is totally unfair. There are winners and there are losers. Every winner gets a Super Bowl Ring that signifies that on that specific day they and their teammates were the best. The other team goes home with the promise of “maybe next year.”

In real life they don’t pass out trophies to everyone and they do keep score. Even if that score turns out to be a very lopsided 43-8. And there are only two trophies. MVP (Most Valuable Player) and the Lombardi Trophy awarded to the winner.

How do we define winners and losers?

It’s been 105 years since the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series. Yet, every year fans show up hoping this will be their year even though history would suggest otherwise. The fans yearly mantra, “They wouldn’t be the Cubs if they didn’t break your heart.” While the Cubs are winners in some of their individual games, overall it’s hard not to think of them as annual losers — unless you are a diehard fan.

Some Final Thoughts

ABC’s Wild World of Sports used the phrase, “… the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” in their weekly opening monologue. Fans share both the victory and the agony for their respective teams.

Those of us in the trenches each day also experience victories and losses as we go through our workday. For many of us it’s hard to think of what athletes do as work because we don’t see the hours of training and practice that got these gladiators to their field of battle.

We need a yearly Super Bowl, we need a yearly World Series, we need an Indianapolis 500, and we need a Stanly Cup. We need ultimate winners. Without them what chance do we have to win in our daily lives?

There has to be one winner rising from the fray. There needs to be periodic closure rather than unending battles. We need ends and finality in our lives. There’s a reason calendars start in January. We need beginnings and endings. We need fresh starts and victorious endings. It was a bad game but it was still Super.

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