Tuesday, September 26, 2006
'For One Night Everything was Normal Again...'
My last post was extremely ambivalent about the re-opening of the Superdome and as I put it , it was 'The Most important game in the history of Monday Night Football'. I must say that I was extremely sceptical at the ability of ESPN to put things into perspective, but to their credit they actually did a great job. They used their forum responsibly and struck a ballance between entertainment and awareness. Edutainment was the term I used.
Tony Kornheiser made a great point in his opening remarks when he said that 'the outcome of this game is irrelevant, this game is about symbols.' He was completely right the symbolism that for 4 hours everybody can use sports to just feel normal again, to feel human again. To forget about the destruction and the despair of the past 13 months and just enjoy something positive that everybody can root for. ESPN did a great job of reminding everybody that while it is great that the Saints are back in New Orleans, the city is still years away from being back and that a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done. They reminded us of the horrors of Katrina and reminded us that there are people who lost everything who still need our help. Hopefully this galvanizes people to get out and do something to help those who are still suffering the effects of Katrina.
They also brought in Spike Lee into the booth for a few minutes, and talked with him about his impression fo the game and Spike echoed the sentiment of the night that 'its great that for 4 hours we can all come together and enjoy the game, but for many people after the 4 hours its back to their FEMA trailer.' One highlight was when Tony Kornheiser tried to coax Spike into a making a political statement:
TK: Spike, you've seen all of the damage of Hurricane Katrina on this community, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of New Orleans.
SL(laughing): 'I'm not gonna pull a Kanye.'
TK (laughing): 'Politically correct Spike Lee, I've never seen that before'
Either way, Spike didn't have to say anything about Katrina because his documentary speaks for itself. (more on that later).
Green Day and U2 performed, which was whack. I still maintain that they should have gotten some native New Orleans musicians to perform. But Thed Edge from U2 has a fundraising project to to get new instruments for musicians who lost theirs in the storm. I can respect that. I'm still ambivalent about the future of New Orleans, and there is much cause for concern. But yesterday's football game did a fantastic job of showing the power of sports. This game was bigger and more powerful than any SuperBowl I've ever watched, it had an underlying emotion and like Kornheiser said: had symbolism behind it that I've never seen before. If you have anydoubts about the power of sports, watch a replay of this game. But understand that its not the end all and be all. So much needs to be done still and this game was just a something to make people happy and make them feel normal again.
More on Katrina and Spike Lee's doc soon.