Entertainment can take many forms and varying levels of complexity. As a child, a large cardboard box was likely enough to keep me occupied for a time, though now I find myself requiring something with a Retina Display, or at least 1080p in order to hold the same interest. This evening represents one of those intersections of diverse entertainment...for this evening is the night of both the Grammys...and the Pro Bowl.
At first glance, both events are essentially the same. The best of the industry are brought together in order to show off their skills in one final hurrah of the season. There's a red carpet and red jerseys, trips to California and Hawaii, countless reruns of the same network ads, and Twitter will be ready and eager to capture, share, and live-comment on the next Sherman or Cyrus. For the media obsessed and the entertainment junkies, this is certainly a night to behold.
Except it really isn't.
While both events, on paper, read as the same, they're far from equivalent. The Grammys, though arguably not as important as a Super Bowl or World Cup, are a true example of spectacle. The show itself is less about the awards and more about the live performances of the best and most varied performers of the moment. The categories are confused (what's the difference between "Best Song", "Best Record", "Best Album", and "Best Performance"....and why are we honoring songs that are 18 months old?!) but that never seems to matter. Barring a shocking scandal, the Grammy's will continue to celebrate and grow the music industry.
The Pro Bowl...on the other hand, while offering a free Hawaii vacation to defeated 2013 teams is hardly a match. Countless players refuse to attend. Those that do make sure to avoid breaking a sweat, and this year players reference great concern about the possible of having to tackle their own teammates. Nearly canceled this year, offering little value to the league, and on life-support for future season, the Pro Bowl stands are arguably the worst "All-Star Game" of all professional sports.
When you think about it, the reason the Grammy's succeed and the Pro Bowl fails is because of the nature of the two industries. Music exists to entertain. Put lots of music in a room, with some quasi-competition, and odds are you'll have a pretty solid show. Football, conversely, is about winning. It's not about friendship, or fun, or city pride, or big tackles, or teamwork...ultimately, it's about internally wrestling with the ecstasy of victory with the agony of defeat. Neither is valuable without the other. In the Pro Bowl, we see all the pomp and circumstance of all major award shows, but without the desire to win, or fear to lose, the players, fans, coaches, and TV viewers can't help but yawn.
As for me, I'm sure I'll watch them both. After all, I'm sure they'll be plenty of cultural memes generated in the Grammys, and the Pro Bowl, well, this may just be the last one.
English Teacher | Instructional Technology Specialist | 2014-15 PBS Digital Innovator | Gamification Researcher | Marathon Runner | Ph.D RMU 2015