Sunday, February 3, 2013

Things To Do On Super Bowl Sunday

Hype: A fad. A clever marketing strategy by which a product is advertized as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it. ~Urban Dictionary

I would be remiss to not acknowledge the highest profile pop event of the week here, so I will take a stab at bringing a few original observations to the table if such things be possible.

Traditions are an important part of all our history, both corporate and individual. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day, Easter, Valentine's Day... These events roll across our whole society once a year and even when we don't actively participate, we tend to be aware of them. The Super Bowl seems to have joined these esteemed occasions, and it wasn't always do.

Though many people still treat it like it's just another football Sunday and an excuse to party, for a lot of people it can not be just another day. I'm thinking here of the advertisers who put millions of dollars on the line to introduce or reinforce their brands. The ad agencies involved know that a "win" here will be worth millions in future contracts. A "fail" might cost some people their jobs and most certainly will bruise a few reputations.

For this reason, one of my annual rituals with regard to the Super Bowl has been to purchase a USA Today on the Friday before so that I can get an advance read on what commercials will be aired during the event, because until recently the commercials have all too often been the highlight of the game, creating the most anticipation and the most water cooler buzz the following day.

Another feature of the game is the gambling. The NFL may be a multi-billion dollar business, but the sports betting in this country must be on the high side of a quarter trillion. Or at least that's the number sports journalist Howard Cosell put out there before his passing in 1995.

Finally, there is the game itself. Usually it is about the players, but this year it seems the Big Game is taking a back seat to the wonder of a nationally aired sibling rivalry. Or at least that's how some of the pundits are playing it. The Harbaugh brothers keep insisting it's about the players, but since it became the most hyped annual event in sports it has never been about the players or the game. It's always been about "the story" with journalists looking for scoops under every bush and behind every closed door.

At what age did the younger Harbaugh begin to resent being picked on my his older brother? At what age did he vow to get even? Well, you can see it all right here on international television, right now... this afternoon, 3 February 2013.

There are, however, other things happening in our world besides the Big Game. This weekend at the Harrington Arts Center in Superior, Wisc., they are hosting The Willard "Bill" Palmer Legacy Celebration. Most outsider, when they think of the Northland they think of our beastly cold winters. Some think of our abundant natural beauty and still others perhaps think of this as the birthplace of Bob Dylan. But those who move here for any length of time soon become aware that this corner of the universe is a hotbed of accordion musicians. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were both accomplished on the instrument. And over time you find a lot of other closet accordionists influence by the Accordionaires among others.

This weekend the Harrington Arts Center has opened its doors to celebrate three days of memories surrounding the legacy of Willard Palmer. This man filled concert halls to capacity around the world. And it wasn't just about polka.

Thursday evening I had a chance to examine the bowels of this one-time Presbyterian church which now houses 1500 accordions from all over and of all stripes. Today, there will be guided museum tours and other events including a reading by Anthony Bukoski from his book Children of Strangers at 5:00-6:15 p.m. And yes, that means you'll miss the coin toss and kickoff.

Other suggestions depend on what part of the world you reside in. Museums haven't closed. Pool halls are open. There are probably some good books your working through. It may be you have snow to shovel.

Whatever your plans today, make the most of it. And tomorrow we'll turn the page for another year.

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