The importance of leisure: Super Bowl style

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Patrick Malone
Contributing Writer

All over the world, the nation and the University of Dallas campus, people sat down on Sunday evening to watch one of the most popular games of the year: the Super Bowl.  The game itself, even if you were not pleased with the outcome, reflects a much deeper ideal that Americans hold dear: leisure.

The Super Bowl reflects this in many ways.  It draws millions of people from their normal, routine and mundane activities to enjoy a game with friends and family.  After all, the Super Bowl, and leisure in general, “gives people a chance to unwind,” as sophomore Cooper Johnston explains. But “social interaction,” he adds, also “is a large part of leisure.”

Fellow sophomore Maria Linn groups the Super Bowl with those social things which bring us together, such as Groundhog, Music on the Mall and intramural sports.  The social aspect of the Super Bowl, she states, makes it “almost like a holiday.”

The leisure time dedicated to watching the Super Bowl is well spent when it fosters these relationships.  “Friendships are a big part of culture,” sophomore Lucas Lopez states. “You grow … through friendship.”

Aside from providing a great way to socialize, relax and enjoy a Sunday, the Super Bowl also emphasizes a fact that is the title of Josef Pieper’s book: “Leisure: The Basis of Culture.”  Pieper expounds the importance of leisure, which allows for events like the Super Bowl.

Now, not to de-emphasize the importance of studying for your next philosophy test, Lit. Trad. paper, or whatever your next academic assignment is, but leisure is extremely important.  Pieper cites Aristotle, who also realized this importance and said in the “Nicomachean Ethics,” “We work in order to be at leisure.”

Aristotle, I think, would approve of taking three hours out of a busy schedule to be at leisure while watching the Super Bowl.  Games such as the Super Bowl encourage us to take a step back from the all-too-common workaholic attitude so that we are not, as Pieper warns, “bound in such a way that the whole life of the working human being is consumed.”  We need leisure.  After all, “the ability to be ‘at leisure,’ ” Pieper reminds us, “is one of the basic powers of the human soul.”  And, as Johnston expounds, “The Super Bowl exemplifies the social aspect of leisure.”

So, as the Super Bowl reminds us: Don’t forget to dedicate a portion of your week to leisure time.  After all, Aristotle, Josef Pieper and Cooper Johnston think it is a good idea.

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