Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl Cheers

Does everybody know your name? Not in the sports bar I visited on Super Bowl Sunday to watch the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts battle it out for the title. The place was empty despite 30% off the food prices, free T-shirts and big screen TVs. There was no hooting and hollering in this well known BBQ joint in Thousand Oaks, CA. Where were the guys? I hope they weren't at the malls shopping with their wives or girlfriends.

My guess is that football fans in my neck of the woods were at homes watching the game on their flatscreens or plasma TVs. I'm not a television affectionado, so I am pleased with a 17 inch TV screen without any hint of High-Def. I just don't see anything on television worth spending thousands of dollars so I am able to make out the zits on an actors face in full scale detail. Now people have their own home entertainment centers with theatre style seating and a TV screens that stretch 20 feet across the wall. My response? La-de-frickin'-da!

So here's this vacant bar. I sat with my son four feet from the actual bar, since he's underage, wanting to give him a Super Bowl Sunday experience. On other days I have visited this same sports eatery and the place was packed with screaming fans. Not on this day.

I contemplated that the day may be over when the cast of the TV hit show, Cheers would feel comfortable in a sports bar. The genius of Cheers is that everybody did know one another's name (as the Cheers theme song claimed). Today we don't know the names of our neighbors. Instead, we are too distracted by telephone texting and emailing. My son's cell phone rang about 15 times while I was with him. I asked, "Why aren't your friends watching the game? Why are they calling you during the Super Bowl? What a bunch of girlie men on their cell phones during the Super Bowl?" I made him turn off his technical distraction.

Hopefully, I raise some questions about today's culture. I think they are a bored generation and a boring one as well. They've been raised on video games and iPods which forces them more and more into their own universe. They lack any concept of the neighborhood bar or just a neighborhood. Instead, they have settled for wireless friendships. Having observed my son's male friends, I can see how easily bored they are. They must be entertained at all times by someone or something . . . even destructiveness and vandalism They retreat into their private world of gaming and iPoding and cut everyone else out.

Why go to a bar and grill to watch the Super Bowl? Because it's fun to watch a sports event with a bunch of guys who may be strangers at first, but by the second quarter, you're giving one another high fives as your team scores a touchdown. No, we'd rather watch the game at home or on a cell phone device that provides a TV feed.

Who needs people when you can put on your high tech haz-mat suit, shut everyone out and enjoy your own private Super Bowl. And you don't need to know anyone's name-just a username and password.