Monday, February 02, 2009
Every year for the last thirty some-odd, we have watched the Super Bowl on TV. My wife and I grew up in a college town, and LSU's football games were where anybody who was anybody was on Saturdays when they played at home. I ushered there as a Boy Scout. Sold snow cones and pennants there when I was a little older. Threw my beanie into the air when I was a freshman. They called it Deaf Valley, for the noise -- you could hear the crowd roar for miles.
But I'm not a football fan. We watch the one game a year; usually don't know who is playing until a day or two before; root for the underdog. Go pee during the game so we won't miss the commercials. For a while, we'd invite people over to watch it with us, but that didn't work out, so we keep it just the two of us.
This tradition got started when one of my students, who was a place kicker for the LSU football team allowed as how we had to watch the game, had to! He came over, we did, and he was so excited we got into it. It became our paean to American sports' culture.
I see a guy on the screen and say, "He's kinda little." then I see his stats and realize he's two inches taller and forty pounds heavier than I, and I'm not a small fellow. We cheer for the "old" quarterback, even though I have shoes older than he. We groan at interceptions and fumbles, we want to see it go down to the wire. We even watch the post-game show where the athletes hold up the Lombardi trophy and thank their fans incoherently.
Over the years, the junk food has gotten better. From Fritos and bean dip and rotgut beer to homemade cookies. From canned chili to homemade lasagna. We eat, we drink, we laugh, we watch the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Yesterday's game, between the Steelers and the Cardinals was supposed to be a blow-out, and indeed, Pittsburg did win, but just barely and in the closing moment of the last quarter. That's a good game, where the teams bang it out to the final whistle and either could win.
Yeah, it's a bunch of big guys hammering and slamming into each other, it's brutal, and it's our tame version of the Roman circus, designed to entertain the masses and sell products, but it's a great spectacle for what it is. Bruce Springsteen rocked the house, and the Pepsi and Bud commercials were entertaining.
There are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.