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Africa Adds Extra Pathos to Super Bowl Defeat

Kathy Holmgren, wife of the losing coach in this year’s Super Bowl (the extravaganza which ends the American football season), was not there to comfort her husband after his team’s defeat on Sunday. In a stuttering, uninspiring encounter, the Seattle Seahawks lost 21-10 to new champions Pittsburgh Steelers.

Instead, Kathy was in Karawa, a fairly remote city in the northwest of the vast Democratic Republic of Congo. She is part of a medical mission sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church, and is helping to train staff at Karawa’s local hospital.

Kathy’s story pits one American ideal (fidelity to the nation’s supreme lowbrow cultural moment) against another (self-abnegation for a higher cause) and, accordingly, her story captivated the media, which ran pieces on her African trip ad nauseum.

So it was that nearly everyone who watched the Super Bowl this year knew, as the final seconds ticked down, that Mike Holmgren would return to a cold, empty house that night, and would nurse his wounds in the dark. While the cameras zoomed in on his sour grimace, for a brief moment an entire nation thrilled to thoughts of – Africa!