why i watch the super bowl

The Super Bowl will always have a special place in my heart. My first job in the male-dominated sports industry was with a Super Bowl Host Committee, where I worked under a fabulous group of influential men and women who have big dreams and big hearts. I wasn’t necessarily qualified for my first internship–I was only a sophomore in college–but I was ambitious and passionate and someone in that office decided to take a chance on me.

While many of my co-workers and bosses went on with their careers in the sports industries after the Super Bowl was long over and the Host Committee closed its doors, many of them continued working in community outreach through various non-profit organizations. Two now work with a veterans support organization. Several work with a children’s education foundation. One founded an after school program for inner city children and another went on to work for the program. I went on to finish my education and continued to passionately pursue a career in the sports industry–doing community outreach.

In this first internship of mine I was inspired by all the good this group of passionate people did and continued to do.

I feel led to write this post in response to two articles I read over the weekend: Why I’m Boycotting the Super Bowl and The Super Bowl as a Theology of Women. First, I immediately felt like the worst feminist of all time for being excited about the Super Bowl. But then I remembered why I love the Super Bowl so much. I whole heartedly respect and understand the positions of these passionate and bold writers–and I don’t disagree with them–however I view the Super Bowl from a different lens.

I view the Super Bowl as an event that gives women and minorities opportunities. 

I shared with you my experience with the Super Bowl giving me, a woman, my first opportunity in sports. On a larger level, the Emerging Business Program that becomes a part of every host city’s Super Bowl Host Committee is a collaborative effort by the NFL and the Host Committee to provide business and economic growth opportunities to local women and minority owned businesses. The objectives of this program are to:

  •  Maximize opportunities for minority and women owned businesses to conduct business with NFL contractors and purchasing entities as well as the Host Committee
  • Channel an impactful portion of the Super Bowl economic activity to local businesses
  • Provide educational information and workshops aimed at developing local business’s ability to bid on contracts, network with other companies, and procure business from the Super Bowl as well as other events

Learn more about the NOLA Emerging Business Program, or see what the NY/NJ 2014 Host Committee is doing to promote women and minority owned businesses.

I view the Super Bowl as a gathering place for a community to  come together and do good.

Listed below are just a few of the events and outreach efforts that happen during the months and weeks leading up to the big game. These listed are just a fraction of the community outreach efforts specific to the NOLA Super Bowl. Each host committee initiates their own outreach programs.

  • A free health festival for local African American and Latino youth and families (read more)
  • A program that promotes diversity and cultural education in classrooms and through youth clinics
  • Scholarships given to local schools to be used toward fitness and health education
  • Literacy promoted in partnership with Scholastic to put books in the hands of more children, primarily in Hispanic communities
  • Hiring our Heroes, an exclusive job faith for military members and their families
  • Several Habitat for Humanity projects completed by affiliate groups and volunteers
  • Make-A-Wish® , through the assistance of the NFL, grants the wishes of 12 children to attend Super Bowl XLVII
  • Rebuilding Together, a non-profit that rebuilds thousands of homes for low-income homeowners each year, has worked to revitalize low-income communities
  • The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, a worship service during Super Bowl week, raises funds for local foundations in the community

Those are just nine examples of the 50+ community initiatives take place for each Super Bowl. Learn more about community outreach programs from NOLApast Super Bowls, and the NFL.

I view the Super Bowl as a culmination for big dreamers.

As a wildly ambitious person and as an athlete myself, I love seeing athletes reach the highest level of competition and the joy that comes with winning a championship. And as a close friend of a rookie on the San Francisco 49ers, I am absolutely THRILLED to see my friend play for a Super Bowl after the battles he has overcome in his life to get to where he is now. I am also thrilled that he continues to give glory to God and honor God during his journey to the big leagues. My friend has inspired me and many others in so many ways by his work ethic, his perseverance and his tendency to overcome all odds. I am reminded that every man on that football field tonight is inspiring someone. They have all overcome something. They have all set a goal and have put in the discipline to achieve their goal. They have all made sacrifices to get the prize. And I respect that. I respect big dreamers and I celebrate the culmination of big dreams.

Yes, I detest the sex trafficking that happens when a large contingent of corporate men flock to a city looking for a good time. I am uncomfortable with the posed risks of the violent game of football. It concerns me that fans, whether at the stadium or on the couch at home, are more passionate in their worship of the game of football than of their worship on Sunday mornings. I don’t like how much money is spent on tickets, on jerseys and on chicken wings and beer (and I’m guilty of this–I bought a #23 jersey for more $ than I care to admit), when there is so much poverty and hunger and financial need in our own backyards. – I love that those with a voice are bringing light to these issues. I’m glad that groups of people  and organizations that are shining a light on the sex trafficking issue and are fighting to break the trend that follows the Super Bowl to each host city. I’m thankful that there are men and women alike that see a major problem in the fact that women are depicted in the Super Bowl and other televised mega-sports in ways that proclaim, “This world is for men, about men, and because of men. You women may participate, but only in forms that are pleasing to men.” That’s not okay. And I am on board with changing this.–

Yes, there is a lot of negative that surrounds the Super Bowl as with any major sports event. However, there is still so much good. And while I hate the bad and will learn how I can help right the wrongs where I have an influence, I will also celebrate the good. And that is why I am watching the Super Bowl.

 

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