Super Bowl LI mirrors the country

Super Bowl LI mirrors the country

On the first Sunday in February, Americans set aside their differences and come together to enjoy the spirit of the game. Even Democrats and Republicans, the most polarized groups in America, unite for one event: the Super Bowl.

The New England Patriots won in overtime in an astonishing comeback, taking home their fifth Super Bowl ring during the tenure of their coach, Bill Belichick.

This zest of the American people comes in the form of the hard work and spirit. Not only that, but the sportsmanship of two competing teams reminds us that at the end of the day, we all belong to the same league.

As an artist who is so representative of American diversity and uniqueness, it is fitting that halftime showcased the larger-than-life Lady Gaga. Her spirit of inclusivity aligned perfectly with the United States’ most unifying sporting event of the year.

Still, despite the undoubtable unifying spirit of the event, there is still an underlying inequality apparent — both in the game and in her words.

It can be hidden for those who find it easy to look away, to dance to the music without caring about the lyrics. Pain has allowed for the beautiful performance, recognizing it is essential to understanding why Gaga is singing.

The sports world is a reflection of what has been going in our country for generations: an inequality that underpins and hinders our American values. Those who are unaffected turn their heads, oblivious to deep-seated oppression.

Black coaches in the NFL are more likely to be fired according to a New York Times article. In addition, they are poorly represented in positions of power within the league.

As we watch the Super Bowl, we are also celebrating Black History Month. During this month, we implore readers to seek out information on inequality, but also to seek out the incredible contributions that black Americans have had on this country that have often gone overlooked.

Last Sunday, the sports fans cheered, the president tweeted congratulations and the country was energized.

This unity is what makes this country beautiful, but the understanding and constant quest for equality within this country makes it great. In today’s polarized atmosphere, this event reminds the country that at our core we are not a divided nation.

The UVM community ought to continue to embrace an American spirit, one of action and solidarity.