The Superbowl attracted more that 111 million viewers in 2014. A few million of those 111 million people watching the big game were incarcerated in jail or prisons around the country. I watched 5 Super Bowls while serving my sentence and it was a welcome respite from the daily routine, but also a reminder of the separation from my family and friends.
Both at FCI Elkton and FCC Petersburg I was able to watch the Super Bowl without much incident. There is a lot of gambling that goes on around the game, but I avoided that kind of behavior along with the resulting conflicts and potential violence that go along with it. It is amazing how invested the guys would be in their selected team.
Super Bowl day usually brought a special meal of pizza and wings that we could take back to the unit to eat while we watch the game. We would also often make something special like a nacho bowl with which to celebrate.
I’m grateful we were able to watch the Super Bowl despite our imprisonment. It is the small things that provide some sense of connection with the outside world. It is definitely something to look forward to.
If you haven’t heard of Corrie Ten Boom, you have missed out on an amazing testimony of perseverance, faith and hope in the face of awesome suffering and tragedy. Corrie and her family were the subject of the book and movie called the Hiding Place. The brief version of the story is that the family lived in Nazi-occupied Holland in WWII and provided sanctuary to Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis. The family was caught and all were sent to concentration camps, Corrie and her sister Betsy to the same ones. Corrie was the only one who survived. Despite her loss, she was able to forgive not only those who betrayed her family, but also the Nazis who killed her family.
One story I particularly appreciate takes place in one of the concentration camps that held her and her sister. Corrie was miserable because of the horrendous conditions, including overcrowding and an infestation of fleas, and complained about it to Betsy. Betsy urged her sister to be grateful for all they have, including the fleas. Betsy could not bring herself to do so, but Betsy continued to encourage her. It turns out, as they planned to hold Bible studies with a Bible they were able to sneak in, they learned that the guards hated to come to their particular barracks because of the flea infestation. Corrie finally learned to be grateful for everything, even the fleas. What a great example. While I never experienced anything close to Corrie Ten Boom, I did try to have the same spirit of gratitude for everything God provided, even the bitter cold in Ohio, the lack of A/C in sweltering Petersburg and the rats and roaches in Atlanta holdover.
P.S. I strongly recommend reading the book The Hiding Place and seeing the movie by the same name. I also suggest these books by her: