As James Cersonsky pointed out in his column, “Saintly values” (Feb. 5), the Super Bowl is more than a game. As an integral part of American culture, sports have the power to unite people over a common, if somewhat inconsequential, goal. Yet as I witnessed on Sunday night, sports not only bring people together, but also teach us a lesson in how to sit back and, for once, relax.
In a rare moment, the groans heard at family dinner on Sunday night were not over papers still unwritten or homework not yet started. Instead, the frustration came from passes intercepted and commercials too corny to bear. Though I’ve been here for six months, the Super Bowl was the first time I have witnessed students not rushing to the library after dinner on a weeknight, but sticking around to spend time with their friends and collectively deciding to put off work for a few hours.
To be clear, I love being busy. It was the lure of Yale’s more than 2,000 courses that brought me here. And I’m glad that our new love-it-or-hate-it admissions video touts Yale’s 17 dance troupes, 35 varsity teams, 45 club sport teams, 28 intramural teams, 21 singing groups, four cultural houses, eight comedy groups, nine theater organizations, 22 musical ensembles, 19 political organizations, 36 publications and “too many others to count …” I like that we can spend our remaining time attending any number of Master’s Teas, parties and sports games. In other words, there is something to do at any hour, any day. And I would not have it any other way.
Yet, at the same time, I, like most Yale students, am stuck in a love-hate relationship with my classes and extracurriculars. After all, we are only at Yale for four short, precious years. When else will we have the chance to hear Pulitzer Prize winners speak, see our friends perform in concerts and drink cheap beer in frat house basements? Though most of us meticulously shop to find the perfect courses and pursue “only our favorite activities,” we end up running from class to class and cut dinner short to attend club meetings. Last night, at 9 p.m. I had not seen my suitemates since I went to bed at 2:30 a.m. the night before. I know I am not alone.
We seem to have forgotten that college is as much a time for wasting time with friends, as it is an opportunity to build up our resumes. We are, after all, only young once. Once we enter the “real world,” watching bad comedy on YouTube and taking 3 a.m. trips to Gourmet Heaven will become less acceptable.
This Sunday was different. Save for a few fans, the game’s draw was not rooting for a favorite team to win: Cheers and jeers were allotted equally for both teams. And while the commercials sparked a few laughs, most will be forgotten by next weekend. It was not the type of procrastination after which we felt guilty as we do when we spend an hour checking Facebook. Instead it was a chance to take a break from our perennially over-scheduled lives and see the people we came to college to meet.
For first time since I’ve been at Yale, my dining hall was filled with students wasting time without regret. Let’s make sure it’s not the last.
In my column two weeks ago, I mistakenly referred to Gregory Breazile as a NATO commander. His proper title is U.S. Marine Colonel.
Jessica Shor is a freshman in Ezra Stiles College.