Football – particularly Super Bowl Sunday – is all about celebration and fun. Grocery stores have ads dedicated to party food, eateries and bars plan special events, and people host festivities in their homes. It is play time for the teams and spectators across the country. So, I decided to join my husband and son to watch the “big” game. Captivated by the pre-game hoopla I anticipated the fun wearing off on me and the celebration and joy reenergizing my tired winter spirit. Until I discovered that celebration is limited - if it's excessive, you'll be penalized.
Dressed in sweatpants, party food on my lap, and butt on my favorite seat I focused my full attention on the flat screen that hangs suspended over our fireplace. Let the joy begin! Second touchdown of the game brought so much glee from the scoring team that I felt my happy meter rising. It was working! It was so fun until someone called “excessive celebration” and handed out a penalty. Stunned, that’s what I was. A touchdown dance that apparently lasted a few seconds too long is excessive celebration? And you get in trouble for that?
They didn’t call “stalling” like they do in wrestling, or “delay of game” as I have heard in other sports but “excessive celebration”. Dancing around the field for several minutes or inciting fans to disruption would be a problem to be dealt with but a few minutes of boogie resulting in a penalty? And, why call it “excessive celebration” instead of “delay of game” or “stalling”?
The reason I even watched the game is because my joy meter was running low. Too much to do, high expectations, and fear driven warnings to “be glad you have a job” or “be careful because the economy is bad” suck the fun out of so many things. I was certain that the Super Bowl – the party of all parties – would infuse a little celebration into my stressed out collapsing veins only to discover that joy is limited there too!
I agree that inciting a riot is not a good plan – which would certainly be a fun sapper -but a penalty for running around a bit and whooping with joy? Football is new to me so I am probably missing something but it just didn’t feel right. Seems like there is no limit to the amount of negativity we will tolerate but joy – it’s ok as long as it’s not excessive. Whether “your” team won the game or not, take a moment today to have “too much fun”. Laugh a bit too long, dance to the embarrassment of others, and delay something (a meeting, important conversation, starting a project, fixing dinner) for a moment or two of excessive celebration.