I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. Yeah, so? Didn’t everybody? No.
I don’t usually spend my Sundays watching football. I’m busy playing music, doing chores, walking the dog, napping or . . . well, anything. I don’t do football. I have never been to a professional football game. Gasp. But in recent years, I watch the Super Bowl.
I watch for the commercials, the halftime show, and yes, the game. Now. Thanks to my late husband Fred.
I didn’t grow up watching football. My father didn’t show any interest at all. My mother listened to Giants baseball on the radio, but on Sundays after church, we didn’t settle in front of the TV to watch a bunch of big men chase a little ball. We did yard work, we visited relatives, or we “went for a ride” to the beach, mountains, or a lake. We did not sit in front of the TV.
My first husband wasn’t into team sports either. He preferred hunting, fishing, or hiking. Plus, in our poverty-stricken life, we couldn’t afford a TV.
But Fred was different. He was, how shall I put this, a fanatic. He had played in high school and junior college, and he grew up watching the games live or on TV with his mom, dad and brothers. Throughout our marriage, he watched college games on Saturday, pros on Sunday, and Monday night football. Born in Los Angeles, he rooted for Southern California teams, especially the University of Southern California Trojans and the Rams, sticking with the latter even after they moved to St. Louis. The Raiders got some attention, too. But if they weren’t on, he would watch any team play anywhere.
A few weeks after our first date, back in 1984, Fred took me to a Super Bowl party. I didn’t know our hosts. I didn’t understand the game. Longest four hours of my life. But if you’re a football wife, you learn to appreciate the game. You start watching the schedule to know when he’ll be glued to the TV. You start figuring out the rules so you can follow what the commentators are babbling about. You understand that you can either join him or amuse yourself. It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t talk or block the TV screen.
Normally a quiet man, Fred would get loud watching football. I would hear him shouting, “Go, go, go!” or “No! Damn it! You idiots!” He’d pound the arms of his easy chair in frustration and pout if his teams lost.
The TV sits pretty quiet on Sundays now, but not yesterday. I watched the New England-Philadelphia Super Bowl game from before the kickoff to the awarding of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I ate my dinner—salad, pasta and turkey meatballs–on a card table in the den. I was in such a hurry to cook the pasta that I opened the bag too fast and spilled “wagon wheels” all over the floor. For Annie, it was like a piñata bursting. Crunchy treats everywhere. Not good for her, I know, but she beat me to them and the commercials were almost over.
I didn’t just watch the game. There’s a lot of time between plays. A football minute lasts forever. They can even stop the clock for a timeout. If only we could do that in real life. I washed, dried and folded three loads of laundry, updated the chemicals in the hot tub, and sorted through a stack of old sheet music, playing a lot of it on my guitar. But I wore Fred’s old blue Ram’s shirt and found myself shouting, “Go! Go! Go!” and “No! I don’t believe it!” I even pounded the table a little.
I rooted for New England. I didn’t really care, but my friend Pat and my grandfather both came from Massachusetts, so why not? By halftime, I did care. They almost won, didn’t they?
The Super Bowl is more suspenseful than the Hallmark movie I could have watched on the Lifetime channel. Plus I was part of the collective consciousness, watching the same thing people were watching all over the country. When the Eagles sacked Tom Brady and grabbed the football, if you listened real hard, you could heard cheers and gasps all across the United States. I like being part of that.
There was no Super Bowl until I was 13 years old. What did the NFL do at the end of the season before that? I have no idea. Perhaps you readers could enlighten me.
Maybe someday I’ll even join or host a Super Bowl party. I’ll put on the regalia, eat the nachos and drink the beer. Or not. But yes, I watched the Super Bowl. Fred would be proud.
How did your Super Bowl Sunday go? Did you go all football crazy or ignore the whole thing?