Monday, February 3, 2014

The Super Bowl Through the Eyes of a Marriage and Family Therapist.

 Congrats Seahawks!  Superbowl champs 2014!

There are three reasons why we watch the Super Bowl.  Americans watch the game for the traditional sport event activity, for the commercials, and the half time entertainment.  We watch this great American past time not just because of the game but for
what it represents to America.  All one needs to say is Remember the Titans; Rudy; or Invincible and we say “ahhhh yeah, I'm gonna try not to cry.”   These feel-good-themed movies about the passion of American football allow us to be, American. A feeling that no other non-American can understand.  Whether coming here by unwanted or unexpected circumstance, by choice, or here as an original true native, football gives you an understanding of being a part of the American experience. 

The true greatness about the Super Bowl is that it isn’t about politics or race or social status.  This game of games gives us that great opportunity to have what many other countries have.  Color blindness.  Connectedness. This American sport is our way to connect with one another; combine tradition and acknowledge to the world that although we are a new nation we have rituals.  Despite our differences and our blended cultures, sports bring us together.

The Super Bowl TV commercials have grown into a tradition within the game and people have learned to expect the TV ad spots to produce savvy, quick, memorable entertainment.  These 30 minute TV commercial spots are big business that cost corporations millions. They often generate talk as to which commercial generated the most brand recognition.  Again, football through media have brought marketing into our households but into our modern day psyche.   
This year’s General Mills commercial is the winner for me.   This Super Bowl ad is a stand alone. I wonder if its creators were just trying to make money by targeting an identifiable audinece or if there was some communal divine process that was helping the collective unconscious work toward awareness.   How could you not be touched by this Cheerios Commercial? From my perspective it was the perfect systemic and family therapy commercial.  What was really refreshing was that it was probably one of the few times I have seen a realistic diverse or bi-racial family on a commercial with something to say.  That cute little girl just looked like her mom and dad.  And that little product soon to be the elder sister of the family had the model daddy wrapped around her finger.  The family unit was for once believable with a healthy functioning relationship.  It seems that commercial casting directors, ad agencies and blue chip corporations are finally catching up with the new American contemporary family. It is reported that General Mills stood by its ad despite receiving negative social media comments. So again it is refreshing to see companies working though their difficult social decisions and their customers who are working through their belief systems. 

Lastly, as we talk about the game itself and the commercials we cannot exclude the ritualistic event of the musical presentation of . The modern day storytelling by the fire which the caveman learned to explain life.  Entertainment. This half-time ritual of Super Bowls. Who could forget Diana Ross and the helicopter?   That was super half-time entertainment at its Zepher.   I remember my friends and family members thinking “are they crazy,” “WTF,”” is that a helicopter,”  “she really is getting on that thing.”  That was super half-time entertainment past its finest.  And now the 10 years ago Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake infamous wardrobemalfunction will be a statement of “what was the big deal.” I still find it interesting that there was no discussion of sexism taking place.  Timberlake and his camp cowardly avoided responsibility and distanced himself from Jackson.  Something about the male female dynamics seemed very unsettling. But, even with the controversy the baby of the Jackson family, Janet Jackson, was a part of great tradition of entertainers who have had great Super Bowl performances.  So, as the young vibrant Bruno exudes annual half time tradition let’s enjoy the experiences that make us fanatics to the American sport of Football.  

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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