My name is Danny Wolfe, and I am a Broncoholic. (For more on this see previous post, http://rabbidannywolfe.blogspot.com/2014/01/love-and-confessions-of-broncoholic.html)
I was very confident that the Denver Broncos would win Superbowl 48 against the lowly Seattle Seahawks. I made arrogant predictions to my thousands of followers worldwide on the social media. I tried to arrange campaigns to send me to the Superbowl. I had grandiose visions of Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey hoisting up the Lombardi trophy. I debated in my head if I should take off a few days and fly to Denver for the victory parade. I was so pumped up for the game, that immediately prior to going to watch it, despite the weather being about 20 degrees here, I unknowingly left my coat on the hanger at my synagogue, after reciting the evening service. I was amped up-- the adrenaline was pumping like a stream of regular unleaded gas into my glowing, golden Hyundai.
And then the game started. And 12 seconds into the game, I had to literally pinch myself, to see if I was experiencing a nightmare. And then, after the first play of the second half, in which Percy Harvin returned the kick for a touchdown, I realized that this was no nightmare-- that in fact, I was watching the ugliest, most disturbing football game I had ever seen in my life-- the complete unravelling of the Broncos as they were absolutely demolished to the Seahawks in the Superbowl.
During the commercial break after that touchdown, I turned my attention to Facebook-- to peruse the statuses, and to be able to commiserate with my fellow Broncos fans. This perusal of Facebook instantly and radically changed my entire life perspective. You see, Henry, as I was looking at Facebook after the first play of the third quarter, a play that made the game an unreachable 29-0, I felt some sadness, and downright sorry for myself. And as I felt this sadness I took a glance at a status from a dear friend who less than a week ago tragically suddenly lost a very beloved, close family member. She had written a status update, vividly describing the profound pain she was experiencing, the flow of tears she had shed, and her unbearable heartbreak. And with that jarring, eye-opening glance on Facebook, any 'pain' or 'sorrow' I had due to the Broncos game, instantly evaporated. I was coming home, alive and well, to my loving family, alive and well. There is nothing in the world that I have a right to be sad about, or to complain about.
Upon reaching this stirring realization, I reflected to myself, that literally about 48 hours earlier, I was by the bedside of a comatose young teenager, praying for his full recovery, as a dear friend of mine played the guitar for him. And the timing of all of this hit me like a ton of bricks: Within a five day span, on one hand, a dear friend experienced such a tragic loss, and I am by the bedside of a child who is in a coma, and l'havdil elef havdalos, on the other side, the Broncos lose the Superbowl by 35 points. The enormity of the difference between these events gave me extreme clarity. I learned from the proximity of these three events a very stark lesson: I need to be exceedingly grateful for every gift I have, and G-d forbid I should ever, ever pity myself over something as stupid as a meaningless game.
The Torah teaches us, Eizeh hu Ashir? HaSameach b'Chelko. Who is rich, the one who is happy with what he has. Each and every one of us, no matter how difficult life can be at time, still has a tremendous amount for what we can be grateful. No matter how bad any one in the world ever has it, there is always someone else, who would trade places with them in a heartbeat. (For more on this see http://www.aish.com/sp/f/48968901.html).
The night of the Super Bowl, I did not sleep well-- but not because the Broncos lost-- but because of the genuine pain I felt for my friend.
This stirring experience taught me one crucial lesson about football that I would like to convey to hundreds of thousands of my fellow Broncos fans world-wide, still seeped in a deep depression after the brutal loss: It's just a lousy game.