I am the anti-Brett Farve.
While this football hero was brought back to town by three of his fellow Viking football players, I was busy working at my home office. Creating new syllabi for the next semester, I was also thinking about calling the University again, to make sure they were working on my contract. Without the contract, I have no access to the virtual or actual classroom. I can not create the class webpages for lecture and syllabi posts. I can not get a key to the office or the classroom. I can not be paid. This is all because of paperwork stuck at academic affairs at a small state school. Unlike Favre, I am not appreciated, with people eagerly awaiting my return. I am not of value to the school, apparently. The fuss at school now - the news headliner - is that the school may need to cut its football program.
Physically, I am also in many ways the antithesis of Favre - small and thin, and a very feminine woman. I didn't get married at 20 and become a grandparent by 40 (which I think is just weird). So up until now, Favre has been societies ideal in many ways, as a white male football player, team leader, and married man with children. The guy seems decent enough, seems to care about other people. But a news station stopping all programming to break with live footage of the man stepping out of an airplane to return to the Vikings football team camp? What are the values here?
Our society seems to value sports above education, men above women, muscle over mind. Vicarious victories through sports heroes are more highly valued by many than actually developing a disciplined fitness routine - which is actually good for the mind. (Yoga theory comes in to play here). Our society as a whole doesn't seem to appreciate spirituality or religion. The study of religion as an academic topic is relagated to the "nice extra" at a school as a glorifed confirmation dogma class. Yet, spirituality is about what we value personally, and religion is about our collective values. Think about how powerful it is to have knowledge of people's values!
Football then is a religion, I guess. Favre is some sort of Saint or Savior, and Sunday gatherings to watch the games are the ritual services. Thus we get the crazy dress and irrational behavior of football fans - they are just going through their rituals. Meredith McGuire speaks about such behavior in Lived Religion.
"Quotation " .
I agree with her in many ways, but find that the world's religions often provide the choreographic background for an individuals embodied behaviors. Religions are NOT about dogma to begin with!
No one has a football Creed, but they do have football rituals, a type of theology (Favre is god?), some conception of ethical behavior in "sportsman-like conduct" to imitate, and perhaps even some sense of "mystic" joy through group meditation sessions (concentrated silence while watching games). Where did this behavior come from though?
We structure our behavior in order to express what is deeply valuable to us. The movement comes first, and structures the parameters of our actions, gestures, and motions. How we organize our days and our events is even based on these deep values, including how we participate in football culture.
At present, I think I am exactly opposite of what soceity values. Elain Aron's Highly Senstive Person book series [Search Amazon.com for highly sensitive person; or other bookstores] seems to confirm this. It is the football star who earns the big bucks and is admired. It is the counselor, teacher, minister, helper who is shut out of modern life. We have an epidemic of depression, racism, unethical behavior, and insensitivity. Education on how and why we are creating such values is the antidote. So, a religion department at a university is a necessity right now.
I don't think I'd be happy as the "football star." I'm happy being a dancer, yoga teacher, and religion professor. But I do wish I had the appreciation Favre receives, or at least be appreciated enough to be married and have children. For all people like me, I do hope we somehow experience the type of greeting Favre experienced.