To the point week of 2-10-11

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I TRY AND STAY AWAY from sporting events in this column (okay, for the most part), but with the Super Bowl wrapping up on Sunday evening, I can’t help myself from sharing some observations about the game and things that surrounded it.

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As you may have heard by now, about 400 fans who bought tickets to the Super Bowl suddenly found that they did not have a seat once they got to the stadium.

It seems in an effort to have the biggest crowd in Super Bowl history, a bunch of temporary seats were installed way up high in the ends of the stadium.

About a week prior to the game, workers informed organizers that they didn’t think that those sections of seats would be installed in time for the inspectors to approve them. The safety of fans sitting in those seats was their primary concern.

Even though game organizers knew days in advance that no one could sit there, nothing was said until the day of the game. Many of those fans had flown to the game, paid outrageous prices for hotels, and braved the strange Texas cold weather.

They got to the game, were herded into a fenced off area for about two hours, and were then told that they had no seats.

Some NFL officials and their families got ‘bumped’ from their seats; but for the most part those fans were taken to a standing room only area, given free food and drink, and watched the game on television monitors.

Sounds like my house without the standing up for eight hours.

The NFL also announced that those fans would be refunded money equal to triple the face value of the ticket. The key words here are “face value”, because no ordinary fan gets to pay face value for a Super Bowl ticket. I imagine that many of those folks still lost money compared to what they actually paid.

To its credit, the NFL did try and make things right as best they could. They allowed the displaced fans to go down on the field after the game; and it announced that those fans would be their guests at next year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Some of the fans asked if the NFL could guarantee that their favorite team would be playing in the 2012 Super Bowl, so the NFL said that they can go to any future Super Bowl that they choose.

Free.

Now, in recapping: these fans got bumped from their seats; had to stand during the game and watch monitors; got all the free food and drink they wanted; got to go down on the field after the game; got a triple refund; and got free tickets and hotel accommodations to any Super Bowl in the future.

Sure, you’d be angry on game day – but who wouldn’t take that deal?

I’m thinking the “Never Miss a Super Bowl” club would take that deal.

By the way: if I’m making a Super Bowl commercial, I sign as many of those 400 fans up as possible.

The deal comes into even better light when you consider that some people paid $200 (that’s right – $200) to stand OUTSIDE the stadium and watch the game on big screens.

They paid 200 bucks, and didn’t even go inside.

The real shame here is that the NFL officials who knew days in advance that those people wouldn’t have seats never said a word. They never tried to find some other alternative prior to game day; and they never communicated with those fans so that they could make other arrangements, if they chose.

In a world where “the show must go on”, I guess it did.

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It is a statement on our society when we acknowledge that most people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials than for the game.

For years people have anxiously awaited for a break in the actual game so that we can see commercials that companies paid millions of dollars for. And for the most part we’ve been overwhelmed.

Did anyone else turn your TV off on Sunday night a little (or a lot) disappointed with the commercials? Yes, there were a few good ones, but when the talk of the country the next day is a little kid in a Darth Vader mask, it sort of makes you feel a little short changed.

Then there was the commercial for the company “Groupon” that targeted the country of Tibet. It’s caused international outrage, and I’m sure the only place you’ll ever see it again is on YouTube.

It’s okay to sell your product or service, but when you do it at the expense of making fun of an impoverished and powerless country of people, if there was a line – someone just crossed it.

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I’m also sure that you’ve heard about Christina Aguilera messing up the National Anthem prior to the start of the game.

One of the great stories that crossed news wires on Monday had a solution - since it keeps getting messed up, we need a new anthem.

That’s right, there are groups who are considering asking Congress to declare a new National Anthem for our country. That way it would be easier to sing and people wouldn’t forget the words and everything would look good on television.

Here’s an idea: how about whoever’s going to sing the National Anthem on a worldwide broadcast take the time to either, (a) learn the lyrics; or (b) have some sort of ‘cheat sheet’ in their hand so if they get lost, they can find their way. An even better idea: if you sing the song as it was written, perhaps it would be easier to remember the words. Ever since Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston did their renditions of the song; it seems that every celebrity pop star has to ‘jazz up’ the anthem – make it “their own”.

Stop it.

“The Star Spangled Banner” is a symbol of our country, just like the American Flag, but I have a feeling that if some star decided that they wanted to change the colors of the flag to pink and green to better fit their creativity, we’d have a country in outrage.

Sing it right or leave it alone.

By the way: I didn’t really know who the “Black Eyed Peas” were prior to Sunday night’s halftime, but apparently I haven’t missed much in my musical ignorance.

Surely there’s someone better than that available. I just watched the people in the light up suits and didn’t pay much attention to the music, and came away feeling all right about it.

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On last thing: I think one of the best feelings I’ve ever had is watching the Steelers walk off the field as Super Bowl losers.

Yes, I’m a Cincinnati Bengals fan (insert your joke here, I’ve heard them all), but a big part of being a supporter of the Bengals is being a hater of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was almost as satisfying as if the Bengals had played in and won the game.

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Staying in sports, but coming home – where was everyone for Tuesday night’s girls Sectional game with North Decatur?

Take away the cheerleaders, and I counted about a dozen students in the stands for the game. I went to the game expecting a packed student section clad in blue and orange; faces painted and voices loud. I expected a long walk through the parking lot to get to the gym; with Pacer fans crowded into the sections where they could see past the standing students.

I didn’t see any of that.

In fact, if it weren’t for parents and other adults attending games and supporting our teams, there wouldn’t be much support.

So I’m calling you out, Switzerland County High School students: your Lady Pacer basketball team has played through all sorts of adversity throughout the year; and that continued on Tuesday. They fought and played hard and won a game that took a team effort to accomplish; and now they play Southwestern in the semifinals tomorrow (Friday) night on the Lady Rebels home floor.

I guarantee that Southwestern students will be well represented and in full voice.

Will Lady Pacer fans be there too?

It’s up to you.