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John Eggers: What’s better than Super Bowl Sunday?

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How can there be anything better than Super Bowl Sunday? It’s become as American as apple pie. It’s bigger than the Fourth of July. Everyone including President Obama will be watching.

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Even if we can’t attend, it’s great entertainment. The commercials, the halftime program, the commercials, and there is a game, too. It takes our mind off of our everyday problems for three or four hours and it gives us something to talk about the next day. “What did you think of the Coke commercial?”

We gain more weight from eating chicken wings (1.25 billion) during Super Bowl than any other time in the year. The National Chicken Council says this is the equivalent of piling 572 wings on each seat in every NFL stadium.

What on Earth could be better for America than the Super Bowl?

We spend mega-amounts of time and energy on making Super Bowl Sunday a spectacular event. What if we spent the same amount of time and energy on something that would be really worth the time and energy? Got any ideas? Here’s one.

What if every young person when they reached the age of 18 had to devote at least one year of community service at home or abroad?

Who are the most patriotic people in the United States? Our veterans. Why? They know the meaning of sacrifice. When you give up something like your time and energy for something or someone, you learn the true meaning of “Do unto others.”

Since we no longer have the military draft, young people sometimes forget what a great country they live in. To remind them how fortunate they are to live in the United States, let’s have them serve their country for a year or longer if they choose.

Did you know that the coin toss in 47 Super Bowls, has turned up heads 24 times and tails 23? You never really know but it’s a sure thing it will be heads or tails. It’s also a sure thing that considering all of the young people who would serve our country, they would be more likely to serve on  a city council or school board and they would be more likely to vote. Is there a better way to show one’s citizenship?

More than 70 percent of America’s TV’s will be showing the Super Bowl and it will cost advertisers $133,333.33 per second. If you wanted to attend the Super Bowl, a top value seat would cost you $2,600.

Why not give that $2,600 to a young person for serving our country along with room and board and free travel and medical for a year? Most high school graduates are undecided about what they want to do and taking a year to think about it while helping others might be all the time they need to believe that they can make a difference.

Watching the Super Bowl can be a suite time! EBay listings include a 30-person suite (24 seats plus six standing-room-only) with food and beverage for $508,265. That’s only $16,942.17 per person. What a bargain.

Before WW II and during the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps. That was another bargain. Men who were without jobs were given an opportunity to work in all types of projects that improved America. Many are still around today who worked in the CCC and all have good things to say about this opportunity. They earned a little and the rest of the paycheck was sent home to their families. It was a great program that helped save America. Now that was sweet.

There are several existing ways for young people today that are based on the CCC model. They include AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps and Teach For America. More could be created. Why not work for Habitat for Humanity for a year? Why not work in a food shelf for a year? Why not work to help the homeless for a year? Why not tutor for a year?

The halftime performer this year is Bruno Mars, with an appearance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There is no word on whether the Chili Peppers will go shirtless.

Serving our country would be a great “halftime” event in the lives of our young people. After 12 years of school, they need a chance to experience the real world. Without question, most would agree that at this halftime in their life, a chance to help others would be a life changing experience.

Where does all the Super Bowl money go? The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks get 35 percent. The host teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets, will share about 6 percent. The remaining 28 teams split more than 33 percent, and the NFL retains about 25 percent. That leaves 1 percent. I guess that’s for you and me.

With every 18-year-old doing some kind of public service, who would reap the benefits? We all would. Everyone. No one would be excluded. That’s a much better deal.

Denver will fly in its horse mascot, Thunder, to the game. The animal weighs about 900 pounds, about as much as three offensive lineman filled with chicken wings.

Some of you might think I am just horsing around with this required service for all 18-year-olds idea. Well, I think it would be a real winner. It would be more than just a game; it could be exactly what the United States needs — a truly super program.

(In case you are wondering, Denver will win by seven points.)

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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