I really wanted the New England Patriots to lose the Super Bowl.
Okay, I really wanted Tom Brady to lose the Super Bowl.
There. I said it.
Why do I hate the Patriots? Maybe because Tom Brady supports Donald Trump. Maybe because it’s fun to have a football rival. Maybe because I think Brady is a cheater. Maybe because they always win and I wanted someone else to have a shot.
It doesn’t really matter.
The point is that I was pumped up on “hate.”
And the day before the Super Bowl, I literally carried a sign at a Muslim support rally that said, “Love, not hate. That’s what makes America great.”
Let me just be completely transparent, too: I didn’t just want the Patriots to lose. I was enjoying watching Tom Brady get nervous, Bill Belichick swear and the team make mistakes.
And as the Super Bowl ended in overtime defeat, I got a flash of Tom Brady’s face. At that moment, I realized he had become my own convenient symbol of Trump. That I literally thought I was watching a battle of good versus evil.
Subconsciously, I figured that if the Falcons won, that meant one point for us, no points for Trump.
It was just a football game. But in my mind, it was much, much more. It’s fascinating what our heart creates when we feel like we’re waging a daily war.
Am I sorry that I watched the game? Or that I wanted the Patriots to lose? I don’t think so.
It doesn’t make me a bad person. Or a good person. It just makes me human.
I am messy. I am a mixed drink. I’m a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
My porch includes both prayer flags and Bronco flags.
My husband and I spent 26 months in the Peace Corps, and we also joined well over a million people to watch a violent game—a shared cultural experience—on a national American holiday.
I send my daughter to a school without football or the Pledge of Allegiance. But I still listen to the national anthem with pride.
I go to Sprouts for most of my groceries, but then sneak over to Safeway to pick up Doritos and crescent rolls.
My 7-year-old says she loves the game, but it’s the commercials that really excite her. And it’s no wonder. Except during football, our television is off and covered by a painting tarp.
We’re all at the center of our own subjective universe. On some issues, I’m bulletproof. On plenty others, I’m not.
And when we realize we are human—flawed and fabulous and just feeling our way—it makes it easier to accept our enemies too.
Even Tom Brady.
Author: Andrea Enright
Editor: Sara Kärpänen