It’s the day after the Super Bowl, and as one of the commentators said yesterday, it really didn’t quite live up to the hype. I’d say it usually doesn’t. On the other hand, I was moved by a number of other elements of the broadcast.
Right out the chute, Amanda Gorman made me cry all over again. She presented her poem just as the two team captains came out onto the field for the coin toss. Her poem, “Chorus of the Captains,” spoke about the real captains during this exceptional pandemic era that we are struggling through. She pointed to people who are captaining us through. Her three captains were: James Martin, a Marine vet who volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project and works with at-risk kids, an educator from LA, named Trimaine Davis, and Suzie Dorner, a Tampa ICU nurse. Ms. Gormon got it spot on, again.
Then came the national anthem. Some white country singer was drawling/singing through it, and that didn’t speak to me at all. But then he was joined by a Black woman with intense braids, who sang in a crisp soulful voice. And then they sang together, and somehow, it was gorgeous. The white country singer, and the Black soul singer, were on opposite sides of the screen, but sang as one in a beautiful melding of all of us. I think I cried again.
That same racial and political unity theme, seemed to run through most of the commercials too, especially in that Springsteen/Jeep sponsored commercial, The Middle. It’s a complicated question, maybe best not addressed in a car company ad, but it moved this sap. There’s some controversy now about how unifying a message it really was, and I’m having second thoughts.
When our son wanted to play football, my biggest fear was not that he would get hurt, but that he would end up hanging out with jerks and that would cause the real harm. This was based on my own experience with the guys who were drawn to football during my high school days in the early ‘70’s in Cleveland. I am happy to say, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The boys/young men that he met and grew to be good friends with while playing football at Analy, were as sweet and decent as one could wish. That may not be the rule, but at least for the four years he played, that was the case.
One of those young men was Scott Hoffman. On the gridiron Scotty was a quick and fierce defender. Though maybe not a football legend, Scott sure has other attributes that gives his family much to be proud of. I had a chance to catch up with him on our local nine-hole golf course a few weeks ago. These days his face isn’t seen around here much, except when he’s back home visiting with family, but Scott Hoffman will always be a Face of the West County.
Where and when were you born, Scott?
Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa, Aug. 11, 1996. I’m 24.
Where is your family from?
I’m not really sure. I’ve got to look into that. We’ve been in Northern California for generations. My dad thinks he’s part Sicilian mobster. My mom is part French, maybe part Slavic.
I’ll get back to you on that.
We’ve gone/are going through, a pretty remarkable period as a country. Do you read a newspaper?
So where do you get your news from?
Facebook. (Scott chuckles at that.)
Do you see the risk in that?
Okay. Good. No lecture from me.
Let’s talk about something else.
Your dad is a hard working guy (awful nice too). He and his twin brother and your family own and run Fircrest Market, the sweetest grocery store around. Did you ever think about joining him in the grocery business?
Working six days a week isn’t my cup of tea. He works really hard, and he’s always interacting with the public, which you need to be really patient for. Maybe not for me.
You became a civil engineer. Well done! Don’t you think it’s a little magical that you can play on your computer, talk on the phone, often while staying at home, and get to call that work?
It is amazing, but it’s not easy.
So what do you build?
I build Seven/Elevens. (Scott laughs at this too.)
What would you like to build?
I hope to move over to residential projects. There’s a lot of opportunity at the firm that I’m with.
You played on the famous undefeated Analy Tiger team of 2013. How critical was Koby Einstein’s talent for the Tigers to dominate like that?
Oh, no doubt, he was the key to our remarkable success. (We both laugh.)
Seriously, what’s the biggest thing you took away from playing football?
It was obviously the camaraderie. It was an amazing bunch of guys. I was heartbroken when it was over.
I remember a really hard hit that you once took, and what your resulting concussion looked like from the stands.
It was our last game, a playoff game, against Marin Catholic.
Don’t you think, especially in light of your own injury, that football is too dangerous and brutal?
I don’t think it is.
So will you be happy to see your own kids go off and play the game?
No. I won’t be happy, but I’ll be supportive. I think the game will look different by that time. It will be safer.
So talk about being safe, are you going to get the COVID vaccine as soon as it’s available to young people like yourself?
Yeah, I will. No hesitation. I believe in the testing these things go through.
Here’s something I’m asking everyone. Does climate change worry you in an existential way?
Oh yeah, it scares me. We’re going to know in 10-20 years, whether or not we’re on the brink of a big collapse.
(This answer surprised me. I expected him to say something like 50-100 years.)
So does that affect your desire to have kids?
Good. I’m glad to hear that.
One last question.
You live in San Diego now. Give us your three biggest things that you miss about living around here.
Okay. That’s easy.
#1 - Family.
#2 - The Grateful Bagel. Their pizza bagel is where it’s at.
#3- And I miss free groceries.
Hey we hope you come back for bagels and to stock up on groceries often.
Thanks for talking Scotty.