I lived in Nashville in 1999 when the Titans played in the Super Bowl. A friend at work invited me and my young son, Phillip, to a Super Bowl party. Phillip’s first … and mine. I am a less than avid football fan but this was the Titans! This was the Super Bowl!
My son was as excited as a 10 year old could be, being included in a grown-up party. The host (with a straight face) instructed Phillip to “bring lots of quarters” because we would be playing “guessing games” about the commercials and different aspects of the game, including the final outcome.
The only team shirt Phillip owned boasted a Dallas Cowboys logo, totally inappropriate to wear to this particular event, so we went shopping. Titan shirts were at a premium that week and the only one we found (in a men’s size large) was one celebrating the recent championship. It looked rather comical on Phillip’s scrawny body, but he didn’t seem to know.
When I heard of Steve McNair’s death, I felt sorrow for the loss of a good athlete. Then, I thought of the fun of that Super Bowl Party. Friends I enjoyed being with but never see any more. The excitment of a little boy in the floppy shirt watching the spectacular game. And his tears at the dramatic ending.
Someone younger and wiser than I said, ” … when we remember celebrities we remember a part of ourselves … what they meant to us in different stages of our lives. … In our comments we talk about ourselves as much as we do them. …when a celebrity dies we confront our own mortality.”