Superbowl Sunday: what are the mental health implications?
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
As a fan, one probably could not have asked for a more fulfilling game last night than Kansas City versus Philadelphia. In a way, the annual Super Bowl champion game has become our country’s annual collective party. But parties usually do not have such important mental health implications. This one did.
1. Excitement. This one had it all: lots of scoring, ups and downs, and a last-minute score for victory.
2. Peaceful. It is hard to say that a game with so much physical violence was peaceful but, at least while I was watching, there were no fights during or after the game and both sides hugged afterwards—so unlike our leading politicians.
3. Brotherly love. Unlike the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, the Kelce brothers that played on different sides seemed to respect and love each other.
4. A Black quarterback won. He had to, because both sides had one, a historic first. They performed so well, obligating any stereotypes that Black men did not have the intelligence to be in the most important football leadership position.
There will be inevitable criticisms.
1. Ownership. When will both team owners be Black?
2. Stereotyping. Is it stereotyping another American discriminated group, Native Americans, for Kansas City to have the nickname “Chiefs,” or can that be reframed as being positive?
3. It is just a game. Is football a momentary diversion from our significant societal problems?
4. Maleness. Does it glorify male violence when we need new models of maleness?
I will take the optimistic side, just like the almost miraculous recovery of the football player Damar Hamlin from a cardiac arrest while playing a game not long ago, and with the help of the best of modern medicine, recovered and cleared to play football once again. At least for a while, we can bask in this example of our best in overcoming racism, mass murders, and divisiveness.
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.