Cleats and tutus: super performances

IT may sound strange, but I didn't see Super Bowl XIX. It isn't that I don't like the game of football. I used to play a game of the same name in my school days, although it was somewhat different. I presume that was because it wasn't on television.

Pro football and college football are closely related now. I don't always understand the difference.

We had a coach, but he also coached all the other sports the school had, and I'm sure we never had a choreographer. We practiced only basic football. None of the players ever had an agent. Now that agents have come into the game, I presume it is only a matter of time before football players join Equity. Or maybe they already belong to Equity. I'm not always the first to know something.

When I played football, the idea was just to tackle the runner, intercept a pass when possible, fall on a fumble, and in a burst of good fortune, make a touchdown. But that was it; the game just continued.

Today I notice that when a player tackles a runner, or blocks a pass, he immediately leaps to an open area and does a dance. It involves whirling in a circle so his name is visible from all sides, while waving his arms for attention. The performance ends with a few gigantic jet'es, albeit in football shoes. Then before play is resumed all the other players trot past him, slapping his palms and giving bear hugs.

A touchdown sets off a major production. Players form a chorus line, or a large circle, and do something between a hula and a ballet. This is preceded by a solo performance by the touchdown-maker, who symbolizes his success through interpretive body oscillation, much like a premi`ere danseuse.

There are not extra points given for this performance, as far as I know, though it may have compensation in the size of the salary.

The other special performance featured is a game-long video of the head coach making faces that express his emotional involvement in the plays. Oscar nominations, as yet, do not include this category, but it may eventually come.

So my viewing of the Super Bowl was minimal. My attention was taken by the dancing players and the close-ups of the coaches.

I missed most of the actual game.

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