Today’s modern sporting events reflect the most seductive part of live performance:  Creating Dramatic Tension — and the buildup to the annual Super Bowl celebration is one of the finest examples of spectacle in performance wrapped in football pads and held tight with crossed fingers.  The countdown clocks on today directly inherit, and reflect, the innate sense of doom and pending explosion that so many modern dramas lack on the live stage.

The clock ticks.

Sides are drawn.

Stakes are wagered.

The entire production explodes in pent up fury and the hubris of expectation and the performance begins. 

You have yourself a football game — and a live performance with a definite ending but without a named winner.

Only when the play clock ticks to zero will we be able to crown a victor and celebrate the conquering or wallow in the cathartic misery of yet another lost year.


  1. There’s a great moment in A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert where the main character realizes that going to a prostitute wasn’t nearly as fun as the anticipation and getting ready to go — getting dressed up, the wig powdering, etc. How little things change 🙂

  2. I love that universal truth, Gordon. The Super Bowl also usually has one dominant team that crushes the other. It’s usually quite a mismatch.

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