The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 11, 2013

Joe Hadsall: Super Bowl power outage shouldn't shame Superdome

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Baltimore Ravens may have won Super Bowl 47, but the big loser wasn't the San Francisco 49ers. It was the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

By now, you probably know -- even if you didn't watch the game or any of the commercials -- that many of the lights went out in the dome a few minutes into the third quarter of the game. Play was paused for about 34 minutes while stadium officials got the lights on again.

I hated to see that happen, because I knew it would reflect poorly on my beloved birth city and its ability to host a Super Bowl ever again. But at the time, I didn't realize what a moronic notion that was.

It took hearing it from sports pundits to realize how dumb that idea was. Did I really hear Stephen A. Smith and Dan Marino say that there should never be another Super Bowl in the Superdome again? I thought I heard that, but I can't find any verification.

Of course, they will hold a Super Bowl in New Orleans again, as well as countless other events, including NCAA championships for football and basketball. And it will be in the running to host the Super Bowl in 2018, coinciding with the city's 300th anniversary. How great would that be?

The reason for the outage still isn't clear. Superdome officials will hire an outside agency to investigate, but already information has surfaced that there were power outages during rehearsals for Beyonce's halftime show.

Also, officials knew that there was a risk as early as Oct. 15, and rushed to replace some of the key equipment in its grid before the big game.

But regardless of what the investigation finds, I fully believe that there will be more Super Bowls played in the Crescent City.

Worse things have happened in other cities. Two years ago, Dallas adopted an ostrich-like approach to dealing with ice before Super Bowl 45, and the stadium is still in court over a game-day seating flub. Already experts are wondering if next year's Super Bowl, to be held in New Jersey's chilly MetLife Stadium, will have a halftime show because of cold weather.

Super Bowl 49 will be held in Arizona. No. 50 will be in either San Francisco or Miami, and 51 gets either of those two towns or Houston. It's not hard to imagine New Orleans being a finalist to host Super Bowl 52, which is one of my lucky numbers, by the way.

Besides, the outage provided plenty of entertainment on Facebook and Twitter. My online friends didn't disappoint:

"Next year's game will be played at Motel 6."

"Ray Lewis killed the lights."

One of my favorites was a doctored photo of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton having his revenge by ripping wires out of a fuse box.

In any event, the Super Bowl's completion marks the end of a miserable year for my beloved, scandal-plagued, record-setting-bad defense Saints. Payton is back, quarterback Drew Brees is in his prime, the offense is still loaded and a new defensive coordinator (probably Rob Ryan) will get the defense rolling again. September can't get here quickly enough.

A lesson in context

I read this quote in a book this week, and it really moved me:

"I am simply fortunate enough to have found somebody who I would die for, who would also die for me; to cheat each other would be to cheat ourselves."

Daniel Madison wrote that. Madison is a magician who got his start in the world of sleight of hand as a poker cheat. Chances are you've never heard of him, but he's big in magic's underground.

He is soft-spoken, subtle and rarely raises his voice. If it wasn't for the cards always in his hands and the way those cards move in dizzying patterns, you'd probably never notice him.

Hanging out with him is an awesome experience, especially for a card guy like me. I like to think I'm pretty good with a deck, but I was definitely the neophyte around Madison and the others.

He delved into magic after a gambling disaster: In a nutshell, he got caught cheating. Well, not really caught, but when he accidentally dropped three kings, the coincidence was too much for the other players to ignore. He was beaten so badly he spent days in the hospital.

The brush led him to the safer world of magic instruction, where Madison has grown into one of the most influential teachers in the business. I've been diving into his work a lot lately, but that one quote stood out to me.

There are a lot of magic-related reasons for that quote's power and importance.

But as I read it, I thought of how many other things it could apply to. It certainly describes the relationship I have with The Lovely Paula -- I want to get the quote up on our home's wall of words. Yes, we have a wall of words. One wall of our living room is decorated entirely with quotations of all sorts. I love it.

As I shared it with others on social networks, I was impressed with all the different ways people interpreted that quote. They applied it to friendships, family, romance and even a relationship with God.

Not bad for a quote about cheating at cards.

Context is so rare in these hyper-partisan days, where one person's quote can be taken out of context and used for a day's worth of broadcasting on cable news networks or talk radio stations. No one seems to care about context anymore.

But for those of you who do: The context of Madison's quote deals with how he and a compatriot used a system of cheating at a poker table. Using a system of signals, they would play at a table under the guise of being strangers, use secret signs to indicate cards, leave separately and share winnings later.

The thoughts about dying are quite literal, because Madison and his compatriot pushed all in with their lives for their swindle. The games were dangerous -- as Madison later discovered -- but their trust in each other in a dangerous environment is inspiring; as inspiring as poker cheating can be, anyway.

The old notion about fortune favoring the bold has its roots in a quote by Louis Pasteur: "Chance favors the prepared mind." The power of the quote to me is about knowing when you're lucky and making the most of it.

That's why, even when the quote is about card cheating, to me it's about TLP. Happy Valentine's Day, baby.