The weekend came and went without scarcely a sigh, except of course for the largest sporting event of the year, the game that has become a cornerstone of Americana as we know it: the Super Bowl! Perhaps I over-dramatized… but the excitement is so palpable right before this game each year. Even those who aren’t football fans find something to draw them in, whether it’s commercials, great eats, or chilled beers.
My boyfriend, J, is a football fan to his core. He started playing in little league as a middle schooler, made team captain in high school, and coached for eight years after that. He loves the game for the physical endurance and strength required, he watches the plays with an eye for strategy, and I have a feeling he glories in the fighting spirit of teams working together against rivals.
When I was growing up my mom was the one who tuned the television to football on Sundays, cheered on her favorite teams each Monday night, and instilled my own fandom for the sport. Our family tradition began as each Sunday we would troop off to church early in the morning, back in time for kickoff. My mom would stock the fridge the night before with sandwich fixings so we could all make our sub sandwich lunch between plays. Mom was the one who got my dad hooked on football, she was the one who first taught me how the scoring worked, and even now, when she’s one thousand miles away in Alaska, we text each other during plays to share our love of the game.
For Super Bowl XLVII this year, J and I had plans to spend the day watching the game with friends. In the morning we prepped some yummy eats to share during the pre-game, beers were purchased, we loaded up the puppy, and off we went. J had whipped up his super delicious bacon-wrapped and cheese-stuffed jalapeños while I had made a batch of my mom’s famous 6-layer bean dip.
We arrived early enough to visit for a few hours before kickoff and the snacking commenced. Anything wrapped in bacon is going to be a hit with the guys, but I had no idea that those jalapeños would barely last 5 minutes, even piping hot out of the oven. Heaven surely has those jalapeños as the daily special (and hopefully at zero calories too)!
The game itself was a bit of a disappointment to me with a lackluster first half and a decided absence of great plays. And then the lights went out in the stadium for 48 minutes. It could have been such a bust but really that just made the day about the company we kept. We had an awesome group to hang out with. We laughed a lot, ate some amazing food, and the day couldn’t have been better.
That’s one of the things I like best about football, it brings people together. Whether J and I are trooping off to a local high school game to cheer on his nephews or meeting up with friends to root for the Seahawks on a Sunday afternoon, football creates community and builds camaraderie. It’s fans can get a little crazy, it’s players don’t always make good choices, but these things are true of almost anything. There are also the players that you’re proud of for their community involvement, there are the kids who are inspired by them, and there are so many who gather together each weekend to enjoy time with family and friends during the games.
Now if only I didn’t have to wait until September for next season to start. At least baseball season is just around the corner…