The Super Bowl is coming. It will come with great fanfare. With rabid infatuation. With outrageous amounts of money. With constant media coverage. With glorification of the star athletes.
And yet the Super Bowl is just the tip of the iceberg of all that comes before it. The amount of resources and money and attention tied up in the regular season games is staggering. And then there are the resources tied up in the farm system, otherwise known as college football. And that’s staggering too.
The success is hard won, for sure. I don’t want to rain on someone’s success and eat lots of sour grapes and be the Super Bowl Grinch. Yet I sometimes despair that we as a nation expend so many resources on rewarding athletic competition. And I despair because I read the news and hear a constant bemoaning that we lag behind the world in science and education. And yet our leaders wonder why we have problems?
Where is the glorification of the science star? Where is the glorification of innovator? Where is the glorification of the engineer?
You get the behavior you reward. And we reward athletes and movie stars. We reward them with money but more important we reward them with our attention. And we all only have so much attention to give. So we heap on them untold attention and we wonder why we and especially our youth don’t have any attention left for education and science. We need to turn this attention deficit on its head.
We need a Super Bowl of science. Heap some attention and reward on those who excel there. Maybe the sports that have so wildly succeeded should give back to the nation that has made their success possible. Maybe for every game that pro and college football play they should sponsor an academic event. Events in all areas of academics. Followed by a series of playoffs and championships.
I know there are academic super bowls out there. They are obviously not getting enough love. We need our famous and successful nerds and geeks to join the fray. We need that Revenge of the Nerds mentality back.
It’s about the raised awareness, about the attention. Not just children’s attention, but everyone’s. It starts with me. It starts with you.