The Super Bowl, Forsooth


Illustration Credit: National Public Radio

Right Idea.  Wrong Super Bowl.

It’s practically a national holiday in the United States, when people gather from across the land to witness a clash between sporting titans.  I won’t call it “football,” since we Americans are practically alone in naming our version of that game “soccer.”  But rather American football plays its championship this evening and hundreds of millions of fans will sit down to watch.

For some, the commercials will prove once again more entertaining than the game.  For others, it will be the grand spectacle of America’s greatest stage that draws them in – one of the lone remaining truly communal events left in this scattered, electronic, virtual age that can knit a whole society together.

For diehards, there will be, of course, the game itself, this year pitting the team with the highest-powered offense (Denver Broncos) against the team with the stingiest defense (Seattle Seahawks).  Unstoppable force vs. immovable object.  Modest, future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback (Peyton Manning) vs. braggadocios, cock-sure cornerback (Richard Sherman).  Larger-than-life personalities in a society that values over-the-top displays.

What does this have to do with Shakespeare?  Aside from the fact that nobody will be paying any attention to this blog (for good reason: if not for the Super Bowl, then for the Puppy Bowl or Lingerie Bowl…I mean, c’mon), I may as well wave the white flag and surrender.  Even if I’ll later be posting on the documentary Looking for Richard and the novel, The Daughter of Time as my personal pre-game warmup.

Nevertheless, I present at minimum a loose (aka sketchy) Shakespearean reference.

Awhile back, National Public Radio featured a broadcast on the Super Bowl by the legendary Sports Illustrated columnist Frank Deford.  If nothing else, it proves how difficult it can be trying to write with Shakespeare’s flair in a modern idiom.

Click HERE to listen to the complete broadcast.

Continue reading below for a sample.

And for the rest of you, wherever you are, stay safe, enjoy the game.  May the commercials be funny, the camaraderie heartfelt.  And may the better team win in the end!  Hoo-ray.


The Players: Sideline Wench, a reporter for the Duchy of Fox; Kornheisercranz, herald; Wilbonstern, herald; Brady, a fair-haired boy; Eli, a boy; reporters, bloggers, correspondents, cameramen, soundmen, hangers-on, sycophants, small children throwing rose petals.

Our drama begins as a slovenly mob of sports journalists enters the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium. A fetching reporter, the Sideline Wench of the Duchy of Fox, steps forward.

Sideline Wench: Since none of my sex ’tis allowedWithin the network booth on high,’Twill be my one sweet distaff voiceMidst these growling sports-page lowlifesWhich will, upon my sideline nunnery,Dare confront the pretty Brady.

Two heralds, Kornheisercranz and Wilbonstern, wearing hideous matching ESPN doublets, elbow the Sideline Wench aside.

Click LINK for more.


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