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Football is uppermost in the minds of many this weekend.  Especially here in Seattle!  Super Bowl XLVIII is just a couple of hours away!

Now I am not so much a rabid football fan as I am an enthusiastic observer of human behavior.  And football places us in such a rich display of human behavior!  People paint their faces, shave their heads, emit guttural expressions of….well, not sure what that is sometimes!

We humans have basic needs…and we continually ‘fear’ that they will not be met.  These essential needs include (according to Maslow) foundational requirements of living – food, shelter, sleep, etc.  As we move up the chain of needs we discover the desire for love, acceptance, contribution, growth…to name a few.

What in the heck does this have to do with football?  Quite a bit it seems.

Football displays the aggression that has historically been valued by society in order to obtain the most basic of needs.  As we became (or today remember to display) more ‘civilized’ we acknowledged the value of friendship, belonging, nurturing and other ‘softer’ expressions of human need, whether on the side of giving or receiving.  The game also supplies the very strong need of significance….”my team” does this, or “my team” is better than that team, etc.  Certainty is obtained as our collective ‘team spirit’ is validated by a win…or even a great effort.  We band together to celebrate the win and also to assuage the wounds of the loser.

This provides the basic need of connection in the form of team identification…”the 12th man”.  My team!!!

The challenge of course is that as the lower vibrations and expressions of these needs are expressed, we can lose sight of the higher levels of expression ranging from sportsmanship to empathy and compassion.  The fear is that if we display compassion (a valuable component of sportsmanship) we will be communicating weakness to our rival.  Maslow suggested that morality was the pinnacle of the pyramid of needs.  Morality, the virtue of knowing that was is best for me is best for all, if valued as the uppermost goal then may come in conflict with the desire to achieve “the win”.

Don’t get me wrong…I will enjoy the game on Sunday…regardless of the victor.   I too have been enticed by the vision of a Super Bowl win here in Seattle.  Robert Fulghum, in his blog a couple of days ago, suggests a win here in Seattle will rival the 2nd coming in significance!

We can get our needs met!  Whether we win the game today or not.  We are significant.  We are part of the team…a vital player in this game of life.

Will just be a whole lot sweeter if (I mean ‘when’) we win today….just sayin’…  🙂

GO HAWKS!!!!!!