Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Family Super Bowl Party (A Running Diary)

The Super Bowl has an interesting holiday-ish feel to it. There are a lot of different angles to it. The game. The commercials. The half-time entertainment. The food. There is something there for everyone to latch onto.

Since I've been married, most of my Super Bowl watching experiences have involved my kids, my wife, her parents, and her sister, none of whom are very big fans of the NFL. This year was no different. (We were invited to my brother's house, but the 4:30 PM kickoff didn't jibe with the 1:00 PM-4:00 PM church schedule we are on, combined with the hour drive between our houses.)

So, we set things up to have our Super Bowl "party" here at our house, mostly because we now have the big screen television. (For years The Wife promised me we could get a big screen television as soon as the Minnesota Vikings made it to the Super Bowl. Happily, The Wife waived that requirement last year because: 1) our old tv died, and B) she had seen enough Viking football to realize she didn't want to wait that long.)

This year, I thought it might be fun to chronicle the game and the party, so I borrowed (well, actually stole) an idea from Bill Simmons, also known as "The Sports Guy" on and I decided to do a running diary of our Super Bowl party. (You know what, I'm going to go back to saying I'm just borrowing the concept. He and his millions of readers can have it back as soon as me and my seven readers are through with it.)

So, without further ado, here is the running diary of our Super Bowl party:

4:01--Church lets out. I stand at the door with the 4-year-olds that I teach, waiting for their parents to come pick them up.

4:15--All the kids from my class have been picked up, our kids are gathered and loaded up, and we finally leave the church house to come home.

4:20--Work on changing my clothes and getting the kids changed, as well. I decide to wear my #40 Jim Kleinsasser Minnesota Vikings jersey because A) if I waited to wear it when the Vikings are in the Super Bowl, I might never get to wear it, and 2) I had already worn my #28 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings jersey the day before, to commemorate A.P. being named the NFL MVP.

4:31--The actual game kicks off. No one in our house is watching. We have it recording on the DVR. (It has been several years since we started watching the game when it actually started.)

4:31--The Wife, from the kitchen where she is working on food, yells this in my direction: "Joe, either throw the cat outside or clean up the cat barf!"

4:32--It's just a hairball. I clean it up, go wash my hands, and let the cat stay inside.

4:37--Grammy and PopPop (my in-laws) arrive, bringing lots of food with them. (Turkey, pastrami, cheese, soda, banana bread, bar cookies, a shrimp tray, pizza bagel bites, and cheesy-bacony tater skins.) (Meanwhile, The Wife has made homemade hoagie rolls for sammiches and cheesy Rotel dip for tortilla chips, along with other sammich fixins and chips.)

4:44--While taking some of the food downstairs to the family room, I discover another cat hairball on the stairs. I quietly clean it up (and wash my hands again) before anyone else notices it. (Especially the kids.)

4:58--Finish making my two big, overflowing sammiches upstairs. (The sammich fixins are upstairs. The rest of the food is now downstairs.) (And yes, I know the word is spelled "sandwich," but I prefer "sammich." I'm hoping that if enough people join in with this new formation of the word that we can get it changed forever, like when we, as a nation, were able to successfully change "catsup" into "ketchup.")

5:00--Sister-in-law Kimmie walks in just as we start the game on the DVR. Two-year-old Buzz, when asked who he wanted to win before even seeing the teams, says "Purple." Roni and I want the 49ers to win. Roni wants San Francisco because it is the opposite of what Buzz wants. (And because it is closer to Disneyland.)  Everyone else is cheering for the Ravens. This is mostly because they are all BYU football fans, and former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta plays for Baltimore. Also, the kid from The Blind Side, Michael Oher, has some sway. I, personally, am leaning only slightly towards the 49ers because I'm not very fond of the history and histrionics of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. (I'm sorry, but no linebacker should be known for his own pre-game dance.)

5:09--Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin scores the first touchdown of the game, making himself the early leader in the clubhouse for the Super Bowl MVP award. (You know, if they were to ever give that to someone who isn't a quarterback.)

5:10--The first commercial of the Super Bowl is...very disappointing. It's just a standard beer commercial, featuring a bunch of pretty people getting drunk. The only difference is all these people (and the beer bottle itself) are dressed in black. (I'm supposing this makes Black Crown Beer more "hip" or something.)

5:22--The card table with all the food on it is not blocking the view of the television. But, (or should I say Butt,) whenever anyone gets up to get more food, their posterior does block the view. So, we move the food table to a place more out of the way. (The Wife pauses the game while we move the table, so that I don't get distracted and dump the food off while trying to move it.)

5:24--The 49ers kick a field goal to get on the board.

5:26--The self-promotional CBS ad for The Big Bang Theory gets the biggest laugh of the night so far. (It helps that most of us are nerds and relate to the characters on the show.) (Except for my sister-in-law Kimmie, who relates to Penny on the show.)

5:30--I finish my second big, delicious hoagie sammich. I am completely satisfied and full. Will I stop eating? Of course not!

5:41--Vernon Davis is having his way with the Ravens secondary. He's making a case for a possible Super Bowl MVP award. (You know, if they were to ever give it to someone who isn't a quarterback.) (Vernon Davis. I wonder if anyone ever calls him "VD" for short?)

5:43--49ers fumble! (Even though he's not the one who fumbled, this is still going to hurt the possibility of a VD MVP.)

5:48--Dennis Pitta makes a nine-yard catch, to cheers from everyone in my basement. Roni says, "Uh-oh!" Everyone turns to her to see what is wrong. "He fell down," Roni explains, referring to Pitta.

5:56--Pitta catches a one-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 14-3! BYU football hasn't been this unstoppable since Robbie Bosco in 1984. (Or maybe Steve Young in that Super Bowl against the Chargers.)

5:59--49ers QB Kaepernick overthrows Randy Moss and is intercepted by Baltimore's Ed Reed. The Wife asks, "Didn't Randy Moss used to play for the Vikings?" I am surprised and impressed.

6:15--Taco Bell commercial featuring old people acting like hooligans. I really like this commercial, mostly because the big, behemoth green car they are driving reminds me of the car I drove my freshman year at college. (I named the car "The Hulk." It got about 12 miles per gallon.) (On the highway.)

6:18--Jacoby Jones scores a long touchdown on a ball severly underthrown by Joe Flacco.

6:28--Halftime! (21-6 Ravens.) We fast forward through the halftime commentary. (No one in our house is interested in anything Shannon Sharpe has to say.) The biggest surprise of the game so far: I have not yet had a single chip! (Oh, don't worry, I've had plenty of everything else.)

6:30--We do not fast forward through Beyonce's halftime show. Everyone wanted to fast forward through it, except for Kimmie, who is a Beyonce fan. I see bits and pieces of her show, as I spend much of halftime putting away perishable foodstuffs and attending to kids. (I will say, however, that Beyonce is certainly more attractive than Prince, The Who, Tom Petty and everyone else they've thrown up on the stage the last few years.)

6:32--This exchange happens:
Me: "Roni, did you go potty?"
Roni: "Not all the way."
I have no idea what that means.

6:46--Jacoby Jones runs the second half kickoff back 109 108 yards for a touchdown! Coupled with his 56-yard TD catch late in the first half, this all but clinches him the Super Bowl MVP award. (You know, if they ever gave it to anyone other than a quarterback.)

6:51--The lights go out at the Superdome.

6:55--Steve Tasker is probably the greatest special teams player in the history of the game. (I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.) If you need someone to cover a punt or break up the wedge, he's your guy. However, he is not the person you want holding the only working microphone when there is a power outage at the Super Bowl. (Sorry, Steve.)

6:56--We are very glad we started the game a little late. We fast forward through most of the blackout.

7:02--We are now caught up with the rest of the world. (I miss my fast forward button.)

7:06--PopPop wonders if the blackout was caused by someone from a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial.

7:07--Grammy wonders how many of next year's Super Bowl commercials will be about the blackout.

7:08--How bored are we? We are comparing the ties worn by Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. The consensus is, even though we aren't sure about the color combination, we prefer Nantz's striped tie.

7:16--The game is going again, and they are repeating commercials that they ran during the blackout. I feel very powerless that I can't fast forward through them.

7:20--Roni holds up a chip, waves it at the television, and says, "Eat it, crowd!" (It's nice that she's trying to share.)

7:31--People at our party are starting to lose interest in the game. Kimmie has left for a few minutes. Buzz has been sent upstairs to his room because he thought it would be a good idea to throw a cup full of soda.

7:32--It's always great when the punter makes a tackle!

7:36--Commercial break: There is a fish serenading a bottle of beer. I have no idea what this means. (This makes me want to buy the beer because.....?)

7:58--There is a half-eaten chip on my leg. Buzz (back from his banishment) put it there. (I find that as a parent, when I am not paying complete attention, my lap will become a depository for whatever things the kids may be carrying.)

7:59--The Paul Harvey "God Made a Farmer" commercial airs. I immediately think of my Dad. Not only because my Dad was a Farmer, hard-working and tough, but because when I was growing up on the farm we used to listen to Paul Harvey's news and commentary whenever we had the chance. It came on at noon and lasted for fifteen minutes, so if we were in a position to take our lunch break, we would do so then so we could listen to Paul Harvey. (It's amazing how much a voice from the past can take you back.) I loved every single thing about this commercail, until the very end when the farmer's son says he wants to be a farmer, too. And then I felt guilty for not being that son.

8:19--Kimmie is bored. She has some of her make-up out. Buzz walks up to me and says, "I'm a lip gloss!" (Roni got some lip gloss, so Buzz felt he needed some, too.)

8:24--Buzz says, "I want to play Iron Man and Hulk!" A few years ago I made the comment that as a kid I had always wanted some "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots." So, my mother-in-law got it for me for Christmas. Buzz calls the red robot "Iron Man" and the blue robot "Hulk." So, I get "Iron Man and Hulk" down. Grammy and Buzz take on Kimmie and Roni in a heated robot fight on the floor in front of the television as the game on the screen is reaching its dramatic conclusion.

8:36--It's fourth down and the game is on the line. And the 49ers call....a fade pass? Really? Yes, there was defensive holding that should have been called, but I still don't like the fade pass, especially on fourth down. There is just too much that can go wrong.

8:41--As time is running down, PopPop is impressed that I bring up the possibility of Baltimore taking an intentional safety before the announcers do. (Ouch. I think I pulled something while patting myself on the back just now.) The Ravens decide on the safety, and it is perfectly executed.

8:46--Game is officially over! (Ravens win, 34-31.) Grammy declares it "The longest game ever!"

8:48--Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco is named the Super Bowl MVP. (Because, you know, they have a tendency to give that award to the quarterbacks.) In fairness to Mr. Flacco, he did have a very good game. In fact, now that I think of it, a startlingly high percentage of Super Bowls have been won by quarterbacks named "Joe." (Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, and now Joe Flacco.)

Maybe I need to teach Buzz how to throw a football and start calling him "Little Joe."

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