A Super Bowl checklist for Pia Wurtzbach

ALWAYS RIGHT NOW - Alex Almario - The Philippine Star

Our beloved Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, is a continuous one-woman #PinoyPride parade. Her trail of adoration has reached California’s bay area, the #PinoyPride epicenter in the US, where she has been working all week as a Super Bowl correspondent for American news magazine program Inside Edition. Tasked to cover Super Bowl Media Day earlier this week, she became an event all her own, with fellow correspondents lining up to interview her and NFL players abandoning their interviews to take a selfie with her.

While it’s nice to see Pia bedazzle Americans in carnival-like media days, pre-Super Bowl parties and concerts, this whole event is still all about the big game, a game she admittedly knows very little about. And I’m here for you, Pia. As an NFL fan, let me be your guide through the byzantine alleyways of America’s favorite sport. Here’s a short checklist of things you must do to take #PinoyPride to a whole other level this Super Bowl weekend.

1. “Dab” with Cam Newton.

So you got to dab with some Carolina Panthers second stringers. That was cute. But you’ve got to do it with the man who’s made the dance move a national phenomenon, the biggest star of Super Bowl 50, the presumptive season MVP — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Your media day dabbing video was mildly viral; this could be explosive.

Nothing will irk American conservatives more than the sight of a brown Asian woman “dabbing” with the African-American representation of all their African-American fears. Newton is perhaps the most polarizing figure in the NFL, mainly because he’s black, super fast, and 260 pounds, playing a position that has traditionally been dominated by slow, lightweight white guys. But this supposedly isn’t the reason some folks hate him; and by “some folks,” I really mean “some white people.” They’ll tell you that they hate him because he’s too brash and showy, as if much-beloved New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (who is white) is known for his humility.

The raison d’être of this white hatred is the dance move known as “The Dab,” popularized by Newton who busted the move a few times after scoring touchdowns. “Dabbing” traces its roots to the marijuana-smoking hip-hop community, where dancing with your arms folded onto your face, as though sneezing, somehow came about. You probably didn’t know that, but it hardly matters, because now it’s become a national craze, one in which you’ve participated and therefore made eternally adorable.

So for the love of God and everything that is holy, please find Cam Newton this weekend and do the dance with him. This needs to go to the viral hall of fame.

2. Touch Peyton Manning’s huge head.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has a large head. He is also a living legend, a holder of single-season and career records in passing, a football savant who is famous for predicting defensive schemes and torching them. But you won’t see any of that when you meet him — what you’ll see is his abnormally massive head. You must touch this because this head is rumored to be retiring after this game. You may never get to touch it ever again.

This may or may not have anything to do with the size of his cranium, but Manning is currently involved in an HGH scandal. HGH, which stands for “human growth hormone,” is a banned performance-enhancing drug that helps athletes heal fast from injury. Late last year, it was revealed that Manning’s wife received shipments of HGH in 2011, which could possibly mean that a star athlete’s wife happens to be in a weirdly coincidental form of medication. Pending the results of the NFL’s investigation, I guess we can make all sorts of weird assumptions.

But just to be sure, never mention this investigation while touching Manning’s enormous head. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it either. I hope this knowledge doesn’t lessen your enjoyment in any way.

3. Let them know: last year’s Super Bowl = last year’s Miss Universe.

No one expects you to be an expert in the game and its history. But a little knowledge of its very recent history might help in this case. Here’s what happened in last year’s Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots: 25 seconds left, with the Seahawks one yard away from scoring a touchdown and winning the game, their quarterback Russell Wilson throws a pass that is intercepted by the Patriots. An almost certain win turns into a loss. An almost certain coronation turns into an embarrassment.

So, reminding everyone there about how your Miss Universe win is a lot like the Patriots’ Super Bowl win is a sure-fire way of impressing people about your football knowledge. Make sure you don’t keep saying it, though, as it may turn into a surefire way of annoying people, especially if you keep saying “I intercepted the crown from Miss Colombia, too” over and over again to anyone who’ll listen. So just chill about that fact.

4. Do random concussion tests.

Concussions have been such a hot-button issue in the NFL that there’s even a movie about it starring Will Smith. NFL players regularly bang their heads against pretty much every solid piece of mass that can be found in an NFL game — other players’ chests, shoulders, heads, knees, feet, and even the field itself. It turns out that there’s an accumulative effect from years of banging your head into stuff and it’s called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease that causes players to age quickly and suffer early dementia. The discovery of this disease, along with the increasing preponderance of concussions in the game, has awakened America’s conscience and has forced itself to question its devotion to football.

Critics of the NFL feel that the league hasn’t done enough to address this issue. But you, Pia, as special Super Bowl correspondent, can do your part. Some concussions are so tiny that they’re hard to detect. You can spot these by asking the players a simple question: “Are you a fan of Super Bowl halftime performer Coldplay?” If the player says yes, then he isn’t of sound mind (especially if the player’s African-American) and should probably sit out the game. Report him to the league office immediately so he can receive proper medical care.

5. Play with #PinoyPride.

Race is undeniably a major talking point in Super Bowl 50. Aside from the gigantic cauldron of hot takes that Cam Newton attracts, there is also this nugget about the Panthers’ Ron Rivera being only the second Hispanic head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Here’s what he had to say about that historical distinction: “People want to tag me as a Hispanic head coach. That’s great, but I want to be tagged as a head coach.” On the subject of Newton’s race, he says: “I don’t think he wants to be known as an African-American quarterback. I think he wants to be known as a quarterback, and a great one at that.”

Ron Rivera is clearly deflecting the issue of race and wants the media to focus on his and his quarterback’s accomplishments on the field, because in America, the true measure of racial equality is the invisibility of color. Here in the Philippines, it’s a different matter altogether: Every Pinoy accomplishment is the country’s accomplishment until we’re finally on equal footing with the rest of the world.

So, here’s an experiment, Pia: when the media asks you about your Super Bowl experience as a Filipina and how you feel you represented your country and all that, try to echo Coach Rivera. Say something like, “I don’t want to be known as a Filipino Miss Universe or a Filipina Super Bowl correspondent. I want to be known as a Super Bowl correspondent, and a competent one at that.” Let’s just see if that comment flies back home.

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Tweet the author @colonialmental.













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