Are you preparing yourself for a Super Bowl party – the annual event we hold at the beginning of February?

I read somewhere that this day is the most celebrated non-holiday event in the world. The parties and events get more extravagant each year, not to mention the budgets for these little soirées.

Why do we hold this particular Sunday in such reverence? How has this day become part of the national consciousness so much more than any other sporting event?

Even if you’re not a football fan, there is a good chance you’ll be impacted by this event in some way.

The answer is simple – tradition! It’s just what we’ve always done. Traditions are those things we celebrate and participate in, even if we don’t completely understand the meaning. Traditions help us connect the patchwork fabric from our disconnected society. Traditions also provide a context and a framework to do something many have forgotten how to do – connect.

Isn’t it interesting that in this day of electronic gadgets like smart phones and smart pads, and an endless array of apps linked to social sites specifically designed to keep us connected, studies are telling us that more and more people than ever feel alone and disconnected from real human interaction.

You may be saying to yourself, “That’s all I do all day is connect with people through email, phone or text.”

Ask yourself whether that is really connecting.

Is that really getting to the core essence of human understanding, knowing what someone is really about, what’s important to them, and what they stand for? Or, are you just getting a job done, a deal closed, or a problem sorted out? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those. Can we at least agree that’s not really connecting? That’s really more about doing a job or accomplishing a task.

Given that context, there really is something special about the Super Bowl, which seems to draw all of us in. The event gives us a common language, encourages us to reach out to others and gather together. Viewed through this lens, the game itself is borderline irrelevant. It’s the celebrations and the traditions that really mean something. And, it’s the reality that the host will feed you! Ah, eating together – a wonderful sign that you’re really connecting.

Look, I get it. We have some big problems in this world, and stopping everything for something as seemingly trivial as a game where big, pumped up athletes do their best to chase each other around and knock each other down all in a quest to push a leather toy across a painted line may not seem like a worthwhile endeavor. But hey, that’s why we call it “sport.” It’s just supposed to be fun.

So, as you watch the pageantry unfold, as you watch grown men throw fits in disdain at themselves, at each other, and at those arbiters with whistles dressed in stripes, as you watch those same grown-ups perform dances of joy because someone caught a ball, or someone didn’t, and as you stare in wonderment or disbelief at that much anticipated commercial or halftime show, remember what else is going on.

Remember that this grand spectacle is an opportunity to get together with friends and family and do something we could all stand to do a bit more of – connect.

Now, pass the guacamole!

Ask yourself this week:

Are you feeling connected to the people in your life that you care about the most?

How do you connect with the people you work with, beyond just getting the job done?

Who will you schedule some time with (maybe a Super Bowl party) so you can connect?

What other traditions do you hold on an annual basis that allow you to connect with people in your life?

In honor of the Super Bowl, all thoughts for the week are attributed to one of the greatest coaches of all time – Vince Lombardi:

Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

Winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing.

Success is never final, failure is never fatal, and it’s courage that counts.

Perfection is unattainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.

It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.

The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything, it’s your mind you have to convince.

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.

Looking forward to our next conversation.