First, Philip Seymour Hoffman. As my sister said, there was nothing he did, not on stage or screen, that wasn’t good. Hoffman was a favorite actor of mine from the get-go, which for me was 1994’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”, one of the better movies to deal honestly with alcoholism. He played a fellow rehab patient to Meg Ryan’s and now, as we all know, Hoffman was sober himself for over 20 years. That he apparently died of a drug overdose surprises no one who has fought addiction, even as it evokes sadness. Cunning, baffling, powerful. Rest in peace.
The Super Bowl was baffling also. I tune in for the game itself, as a longtime football fan, and hope more than anything for a competitive three hours. No one could explain – not during or after – how a perceived even match-up could result in a Denver shellacking. Taking nothing away from Seattle’s powerful defense and occasional bursts of offensive brilliance, the Broncos forgot to show up. Or they showed up and forgot it was the Super Bowl. Or they got such a terrible case of the ‘yips’ that they couldn’t get into a rhythm. Or they didn’t eat their Wheaties. Or didn’t drink their coffee. Or were figments of their own imagination. Or cyborgs. Though cyborgs would have beaten the Seahawks, right?
On Saturday night, when the girls picked numbers at random for our Super Bowl-pool betting grid, I told them no one wanted the number 5. It generally had to involve a safety, which are rare in football. So when the first play from scrimmage last night ended up with two points for Seattle, I thought at least things were going to be interesting. I was wrong. Watching Peyton Manning struggle in ways we haven’t seen all season was painful. That he set a Super Bowl record for most completions sounds like a mistake. Who remembers the completions? He threw rushed passes, he threw bad passes, and the rest of his team wasn’t much better. Missed tackles? There were so many, it looked as if Denver was paid to throw the game.
Fortunately, there were Nacho Cheese Doritos, good company, and several fun commercials to save the afternoon – the Ted/Seth MacFarlane, puppy/horse/Budweiser, Microsoft, and Ellen ones were my faves. (Bob Dylan’s was among the worst.) (And does everyone always think about buying cars while watching sports?) Oh, and it started to rain here in Los Angeles, which we refer to as ‘weather’ and rejoice upon its arrival. We made a fire and pretended to warm ourselves beside it.
In years past, there was a level of depression that followed the Super Bowl. For me, it was the end of my favorite season (football season). Now, in the very deep throes of year-round soccer and volleyball, the letdown is less. We’re too busy for depression. And right around the corner – THIS FRIDAY – the Winter Olympics begin. The timing is impeccable. I wish there weren’t palm trees in Sochi but what are you gonna do? They’re the XXII, by the way.