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Of pride and purpose

Today is more than just a football game.  Today is more than an American holiday.  Today is a symbol.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

T.S. Eliot is my favorite poet for too many reasons.  His use of reversed irony has always amazed me.  "The end is where we start from."  What a perfect sentence.  The Super Bowl is often seen as an end: an end of a season, an end of a team effort, an end of a era.  It is, strangely enough however, a beginning.  Every preseason, the goal of every NFL team is simple: the Super Bowl.  It is the beginning of every effort, every action, every consequence that develops in the National Football League.

T.O. has a reality show?  There goes the Cowboys' chances.  Bad draft for *insert random team here*?  So much for Super Bowl XLIV.  Will he need surgery?  There's always next year.

The Super Bowl is a symbol for, chiefly, temporal reasons.  Every year, dozens of men come together to don the same uniform to strive for a single goal.  Not MVP, not a Pro-Bowl nomination, but the Super Bowl.  The end and the beginning.

All week, people have asked me (as I'm sure they have all of you) who I'm rooting for.  My answer, predictably, is the Rams.  And when people give me that quizzical look, I have often recited the above quote because it fully explains in so few words the timelessness of my devotion to the Rams.

The end of this season is the beginning of the next.  The beginning of next season leads to the end of next season, the next Super Bowl.  And so as I watch tonight's game, I wonder how my team can find their way there again.  It is a perennial struggle.  Are Giants fans still celebrating their last Super Bowl victory or dealing with the departure of Spagnuolo?  Such is the temporal agony of football.  What has just happened has to happen again if we are to find any lasting joy.

So this is a short reminder of pride and purpose.  The pride we take in supporting the Rams, and the annual fountain of purpose that springs up when we think it is most dry.  Tonight's Super Bowl is a game for every football fan.  Yes, only Arizona or Pittsburgh can, win, but it is a strak reminder of what we can achieve.  Arizona has waited for a long, long time to get to this point.  Luckily for them, it's only the beginning.