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ValueSpeak: Making everything super

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As far as I could tell, there was only one problem with Super Bowl I.

The Green Bay Packers weren't green. They were blue.

And even though I had never before seen a professional football game live and in living color, I had read enough from my subscription to Sports Illustrated to know that the dark jerseys worn by the Green Bay Packers were green, not blue.

“Maybe it’s something special they’re doing for the Super Bowl,” my dad suggested. “Maybe it’s a special jersey for the big game.”

I might have accepted that explanation had it not been for the orange tint of Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr’s face.

“The colors aren’t right, Dad,” I said. “I’m sure of it.”

Eventually Dad agreed. Which led us to a new problem: what to do about it? Since we had never before had a color television, we didn’t know a thing about tint and color adjustment. And as usual, Dad had thrown out the instructions, confident that there wasn’t any problem with any TV that couldn’t be fixed with masking tape, tin foil or a rap on the side.

“It’s probably a problem with the transmission,” Dad said. He flipped the channel selector knob to the other station that was carrying the game. Not only were the Packers wearing blue uniforms on this channel, but the football field itself looked blue — which, back in those pre-Boise State Smurf Turf days, would have been considered sacrilegious.

Dad shrugged his shoulders and sighed.

“I’ll get a repairman tomorrow,” he said, resigning himself to spending the first Super Sunday afternoon watching the blue-ish Packers trounce the purple-ish Kansas City Chiefs, whose helmets should have been a bright cherry red. It was a minor irritation, but it somehow cast a pall over our enjoyment of the pre-game festivities. This was the first Super Bowl, and we were watching it on our super new color TV. It was supposed to be, you know, super.

“At least we can still see the game,” Dad sighed.

Just a few minutes before kickoff, my big brother Bud arrived with Craig, a college friend who hailed from Alberta, Canada. I didn’t know much about Canadians, but my fourth-grade teacher was from Canada, and she was one of the smartest people I knew. So it didn’t surprise me when Craig took one look at the TV and knew there was a problem.

“Why are the Packers wearing blue uniforms?” he asked.

“There’s something wrong with the TV,” Dad said. “I’ll call the repairman tomorrow.”

Craig looked at the TV for a moment. “I don’t think you need a repairman,” he said. “I just think your tint is off a little.” He reached behind the set and began fumbling with buttons. Suddenly our color TV was a black and white.

“Oops,” Craig said. “Wrong button.”

He reached behind the TV again. He must have found the right button, because a moment later color was restored — and perfected. The Green Bay Packers were resplendent in their traditional green and gold uniforms. The Kansas City Chiefs looked crisp and sharp in their white jerseys and cherry red helmets. The field was green, the sky was blue and it was a Super Sunday, indeed.

It amazed me then — and often has since — what a major difference a minor adjustment can make. A pinch of salt, a slight twist of a screw, a well-placed nail or a tweak of a button from someone who knows what they’re doing can change everything. The same principle holds true in matters interpersonal. While there are some hurts that cannot be easily repaired, it’s amazing how often a simple smile, a kind word, a friendly gesture or a gentle touch can change our perspective and alter our mood.

And make everything seem, you know, super.

To read more by Joseph B. Walker, visit josephbwalker.com. Twitter: JoeWalkerSr