If you know like I know, bow your heads.
Dear 8-pound, 6-ounce, newborn baby Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant, so cuddly but still omnipotent, I come to you with a prayer of silent struggle. For it is only by your grace that I and many like myself have managed to make it an entire NFL season without watching whole games or participating in the cognitive dissonance that is my favorite sport to watch while knowing full well my sons will never taste the joy of victory or the pangs of defeat on the gridiron.
Precious Lord, there are a lot of us who decided to take this season off in protest in honor and allegiance with our brother-in-arms Colin Kaepernick, who couldn’t get a job in the league for speaking his truth and the truth of so many of us in communities of color who bear witness to social injustices on a daily basis. For it was Kaep, your holiness, who took that knee for the people, and because of that knee, I turned my channel to other things on Sunday, amazingly gaining what felt like an extra entire day of my life every week.
While I have appreciated that extra full day, I have fallen short of the glory a few times. While I’ve not turned my glare and full attentions away from your insight but toward CBS, ESPN or Fox, I have borne witness to the ends of a few games. Forgive me, Father; I stretch my hands, Part 1, for the Lord you are my shepherd; you know what I want, but I’ve been in places where games have been on big screens and I’ve maybe caught a glimpse or two. And if I had to break my fast for any reason, thank you Lord for placing me in a spot showing the end of the New Orleans #BlewDat game against the Vikings of Minnesota to let me know that you, DaGawd, have a sense of epic-ality since, I mean, wow. Like for real, for real ... wow.
I also did have an ugly-sweater Christmas party at my home, and several of the attendees watched a few games, though I can say with my hand on my heart and my face toward the heavens that I saw a total of maybe three plays. I’ve held fast and furious to my pledge of allegiance to the realness and stayed true to the game about 98 percent of the season. The playoffs are now over, and the Evil Empire of Patriots from New England are tasked with facing the high-flying Eagles from Philadelphia in the world’s oddest location for a Super Bowl: Minneapolis.
Nothing against your work of creating Minneapolis, Lord, for without Minneapolis we don’t have Prince, Jimmy Jam or Terry Lewis, Vanity 6, Morris Day and the Time or Janet Jackson yelling “Minneapolis” on “Escapade” on the Rhythm Nation 1814 album.
I am saying, however, that the Super Bowls are better in places like New Orleans or Miami where your holy heat is present and folks can actually enjoy themselves in shorts and walk around without worrying about frostbite. I know you created frostbite, your omnipotence, but it really wasn’t one of your better creations, is all I’m saying. Hashtag #SendingBackFrostbite.
Lord, the Super Bowl is this Sunday and I have to be honest: While my heart knows who I am and why I’ve been absent from the league all season, I’d rather enjoy Super Bowls and the camaraderie and shenanigans and the commercials and the halftime show, though I’d like to slap the monkey shine shit out of Justin Timberlake for his achievements in peak whiteness while actively reveling in blackness adjacency for his cool.
He ain’t the first white man to white-folk at such a high level to the detriment of the black community, but his skill ... you know what? He’s the halftime performer, so he’s a bit of added incentive to keep up the boycott ministry that so many of us have proclaimed—or at least so many of us until various Sundays when I see way more game updates on my Facebook timeline than I expected. Lord, bless the community with dictionaries of your knowledge and lexicon, since I’m unsure if a lot of us know what “boycott” actually means.
Even I’ve been caught up in the irony of boycotting by purchasing a Colin Kaepernick jersey, the proceeds of which I’m pretty sure went right to the NFL. Irony is my oyster. But it’s going to be hard for the right reasons—which is not innuendous, your holiness, at all—this Sunday as I quietly await the final results that I do care about because I really, really want Tom Brady not to get a sixth ring, for I recognize his GOAT status among NFL quarterbacks but I legit can’t stand his “MAGA”-smug douchiness, so I’d be extra cheery in church on a Sunday of your choosing if the Eagles managed to win themselves a Super Bowl, though I fear that New England in the Super Bowl not facing the New York Giants will result in a win for New England. I’m calling it 28-17.
Lord, please help those of us who aren’t going to engage with the Super Bowl find faith and fellowship in other means that are Super Bowl-tangential, like parties where we watch Panther (somebody has to have the DVD) and Eyes on the Prize or even—I don’t know—movies starring Taye Diggs or Nia Long.
Help us feel vindication in our veracity as we attempt to talk about everything but the Super Bowl while we pretend to check our phones for Scripture while refreshing a sports-score app. Not me, heavens no, spiritual sir—I won’t be checking the score, though I cannot pretend I won’t view any updates my phone sends to me on its own.
Father, thank you for giving me resolve and Sunday, Monday and Thursday strength and for giving me purpose and prescience to stay woke; niggas are creepin’. Thank you, Father, for being real in a world full of fake and for Faith—both Evans and within my heart. I will hold fast and strong and watch commercials on YouTube and eat chips of glory.
Just in case I have a moment of weakness, Jesus be a fence around my remote control should I attempt to wade in the waters of Lake Minnetonka for even a moment. Peter, go ring dem bells in the lonesome valley for me, Jesus. Keep me secure with the blood of the lambskin football.
Help me and those of us with my stuggle congregate with compunction if the television manages to find itself on CBS, if only for one niiiiiiight.
I come humbly in supplication, which may be a bit redundant, but what is redundancy to a goblin?
Bearded Jesus with a degree in heavenly carpentry, all these blessings we ask in your holy name.