A Super LetDown

3 Feb

The words of ex-Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman echoed from the screen, bidding North Texas residents to play nice with SuperBowl guests, like a mother warning her children through clenched smiles to behave in front of company.Sigh. Like we have a choice: The city is bent on ensuring that visitors have as good a time as possible while in the Lone Star state. Must be that whole Southern hospitality thing. Meanwhile its citizens look on, disillusioned, from the sidelines.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m just as excited as the next person about the flood of star-studded guests, attention and hopefully investment that the game brings.  But when the welfare of city residents are sacrificed in the name of a game, I get a bit frazzled.

The Super Bowl has been the leading headline in local news for the past month. We’ve watched on television, read in newspapers and saw on the Internet ad nauseam the state’s elaborate preparations for the country’s biggest sporting event. From excruciating details about how the technological team sat in each and every one of the Cowboy Stadium’s 80,000 seats, bellowing “Can you hear me now?” to ensure that all guests have cellular service to the tales of the parade of caterers usheringdishes before committees to score the contracts for associated meetings and events.


(Eyeroll, please)


And now, the big day was finally drawn near. Every ‘t’ has been crossed. Every ‘i’ dotted.


And then on the eve of the big event, the one thing beyond the mandate of the committee goes haywire. Texas experiences the coldest weather in two decades. Rain turned to sleet. Sleet turned to ice. Icy roads and streets across the state made trekking and driving a living nightmare, left airports at a stand-still and crashed electricity plants throughout the Lone Star state.

Call it the vengeance of the Cowboys, who’ve been placed in the awkward position of hosting a game in which they may never again compete.

Or, better yet, let it be a well-deserved slap in the face to cities that invested billions in the game while the state nurses a 27 billion dollar deficit that will cut educational funds and programming and countless other resources.

The state’s most vulnerable citizens stand to lose big time as it puts on a good show for visitors. Betting on the whims of the rich and famous. Hmmm. . .that’s a sound investment. Now, guests who pictured themselves roasting under the Texas sun while shielding their faces under newly-purchased Cowboy hats, have been greeted by bitter winds and toe-numbing temperatures.

But vistors need not fret. Amidst icy roads, which the state refuses to salt (apparently it doesn’t want to mess them up), a battalion of snow plows and were chivalrously sent to Arlington as a safeguard. Meanwhile, residents of the surrounding areas have been left to fend for themselves, slipping and sliding, swerving and falling on neglected roads and streets.

Somebody certainly has their priorities straight. Especially since most guests are coming from areas where snow and its companions are frequent visitors.


In efforts to minimize damage (ahem—put off actually doing something about the mess), area schools and some businesses have been closed for days. Yesterday, as many power plants caved under the shock of plummeting temperatures, strategic blackouts swept the city, leaving many without lights or heat for 15-45 minutes intervals throughout the morning.

Of course, that energy-guzzling giant of a stadium and other tourist events were exempt. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience company.


I guess having an event in one’s backyard is only fun if everyone feels invited to the party. Ticket prices for the big event and their subsidiaries exclude most. And the remote location of Arlington, the country’s largest city without a public transportation system, makes volunteering or any other involvement nearly impossible for those without a vehicle.


Well, I shouldn’t complain. I mean, it will be just like every other year.

I’ll watch the big game on T.V.

I’ll just conveniently forget that the action on the big screen is actually occurring live in a place not so far away.


C’est la vie.

Go Steelers.


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