What are you supposed to do while you wait for your car's oil change? Yeah, that's what I do, too. I feign interest in the weather channel playing quietly in the corner and filter through the magazines, pretending to be completely consumed by the article on motorcycles in the "Car and Driver" issue in order to avoid having an awkward conversation with the others in the room. Actually, for whatever reason, there were only stacks of sports magazines in the waiting room the other day when I went for an oil change. SPORTS?!? SO.... BORING!!!!
I had no intention of even feigning my usual feigned interest of waiting room magazines when I caught the term "cultural landscape." In a brief caption of an article in the ESPN magazine, there was mention of Tim Tebow and the changing "cultural landscape" in sports. Cultural landscapes?!? I love to read about those!! Of course it would take a strictly academic term for me to even consider looking at a sports magazine. It turned out ESPN's definition of cultural landscape varied from my own, but it provided me some thoughts to chew on, about cultural landscape perceptions within the public (#nerdalert).
Part of that thought had foundations in my wonderings from earlier in the week, when a major event occured in the state. No, I am not refering to Governor Bobby Jindal's reinauguration Monday night. Louisiana State University played the University of Alabama in the national championship game in New Orleans. I don't actually care about football (except that since everybody and their mother was watching the game on Monday night meant I got to grocery shop in peace). But the weight of this game was present all weekend. It's just a game! The very empty aisles of the Rouses grocery store provided me time to think about the expanse of football in society. It is pretty amazing the amount of money spent on the game, players, commercializing, advertising, watching, drinking, eating, prepping, cheering, and, wait. For what? For a few (in this case, college-aged) guys to toss around a football in matching outfits. For many places in the country, football IS a part of the culture, a part of an identity. I may not relate, but if I want to fully absorb a cultural landscape currently, I can't fully ignore the purple and yellow (excuse me, gold) or black and gold, or whatever other team people root for. Maybe a better approach is asking "why?" Why do people personally invest so much, identify with, sporting teams?
My questioning or pondering time may not last for long, because, as I may have already expressed, I dislike sports. And I am pretty sure I won't hear "geaux tigers" any time in the near future... the state is still grieving its loss. Give it time. But every year (unfortunately) as I begin to get excited about wearing scarves, drinking hot cider, feeling the crisp air, and seeing the leaves change, there will be those ready to wear their jerseys, paint their faces, and holler encouraging words to the little football men on the television (or for the fortunate, in person). So I will have this chance to think of these things again.
Or I will just get annoyed and roll my eyes. I make no guarantees.
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