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Joe Burrow | Sam Debatin | Sun 30 Jan 2022 11:18:07 PM EST

Here's a snack for a Sunday evening: Joe Burrow just led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Superbowl. Whether they will win is still in the air as of writing (check back for an update, although google would work too), but just the mere fact that somebody from my high school is going to be playing in the superbowl has me reeling. And he's not just any player -- Burrow is mentioned in the same breath as Brady these days. He's a household name, and I used to pee next to that guy.

While I can't say that I'm a sports fan really, I do kind of love football. I don't often have the desire to watch it, but I usually enjoy it when I do, and a good football game will give you a heart attack faster than the chicken wings you'll be munching on. It's funny to watch now everybody who was not a football fan before suddenly become a fan as somebody they know of more closely is involved in it. I won't get on my high horse and say "I'm the nerd who liked football before all the other nerds!" because that's not what this is about. I wish we were more accepting of people coming to like things. It's beautiful when it happens -- to quote one friend, "I don't understand how it works, but I like yelling with a beer in hand."

Besides yelling at a TV (which is of course great fun), I have also had multiple people confess that they hadn't realized how beautiful the game is. I am no expert, but a good passing game is a pleasure, even when nothing much else is happening. Though I could do without the constant commercial breaks, it is nice to be able to go grab another snack during those times.

I don't have a great thesis for this post, other than sports are kinda great and those of us who are not "sports types" should take more time to appreciate them. Baseball is another new favorite of mine -- read Roger Angell's "In the Fire" if you need any convincing that that game is worthwhile.1 There's an elegance and a simplicity to the craft of sports. To be a good quarterback is to understand a field of combatting players, make the right call in the moment, and then visualize the right pass so it lands just so. There is a lot at play, so to speak, in every sport, and while you may not be a fan of sports culture as it were, take a minute and just watch the highlights of a game.2 These are people who truly understand the thing they do. They believe in what they do, not because of some higher goal, but because it is good and fun and fulfilling in itself. I don't know many people who can say the same about their own lives.

1. Available here, if you have (godforbid) a New Yorker subscription. Update: I now have a New Yorker subscription for a couple weeks.
2. My recommendation, which did not make it into this post, is to watch tennis. Preferably Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, though Federer is overrated for a reason -- his grace and styling are unmatched.