It’s that time of year again – the holiday season’s final and ultimate climax – America’s greatest holiday: Super Bowl Sunday (cue the choir of angels and tap the keg while you’re at it). For the sports fan and the aficionado of American culture, this Sunday is as holy as they come.
Once upon a time, in the naiveté of my youth, I bypassed a Super Bowl party invitation to pursue a work obligation. Actually, that assessment rather blurs the reality and distorts the truth by enlarging the scope and of what actually happened that winter day. I said goodbye to my drinking buddies and slung a necktie around my throat, then proceeded to the mall, where my employer awaited. I was a clothing salesman at the fashionable (at the time) J. Riggings, a men’s clothing store that (shockingly enough) is no longer extant. I’m not saying it’s because they forced people to work on Super Bowl Sunday, but neither do I rule that possibility out.
The experience crippled me, metaphorically, if not socially. My pals ribbed me like the undershirts of the era. I was universally jeered for my decision to leave what promised to be an afternoon filled with nacho cheese vomit, testosterone-fueled video football games and unfulfilled high school dreams played out on an condominium complex lawn. And for what? To make an honest living in the world of retail sales.
Aside from missing a Pink Floyd reunion concert, for the sake of my education, it is one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. And, trust me on this, I’ve made a few.
Not only did I not see a great game – I heard bits and pieces on the radio – I was shut out from the communal nature of the experience. This, my friends, is no ordinary Sunday. There’s something to be said for someone who rises from the dead, and I’m all for Easter, but this is football. On Feb. 6, everyone not living in a cave – perhaps even Bin Laden, himself – will gather around the warming LED glow that brings us all a little closer together. It’s like the Disneyland attraction, It’s a Small World, only with clothesline tackles and ruptured spleens.
Even the leader of the free world takes the time to sit down and watch. And from what I understand, that job’s even busier than my own.
All are welcome on Super Bowl Sunday, regardless of whether you’re a Packer fan, a terrible towel waver, or if you’re only watching for commercials with talking animals. In a time of increasing alienation by our disparate tastes in sports and entertainment, the Super Bowl offers up a rare opportunity to have a collective experience. It allows us to reach out to our coworkers or, like Field of Dreams is with Baseball, it gives us an opportunity to bond with our fathers about a favorite player, an amazing catch or a bone-shattering tackle.
And that one dismal year – the one that I missed – was like missing Christmas. Actually, I’ve done that. Missing the Super Bowl, sorry Mom, was worse. Moments that should have been shared were lost. Memories that should linger and age like fine wine are simply not there. It’s a missing year.
Super Bowl Sunday is the most religious experience of the year for the football fan. It’s enough to make the staunchest of atheists pray for divine intervention in the form of a fumble, interception or, if you’re a Chargers fan, for lightning to simultaneously strike anyone wearing a red jersey (that prayer, by the way, went unanswered to the tune of $200).
I’ll be observing this special day with friends and family, or some semblance of either, with probably too much food and drink. Having learned my lesson the hard way, I will never miss it again. I encourage you, my dear readers, if you don’t have plans already, come out to one of Culver City’s many fine establishments. Some are offering very nice specials. Take my word for it, you do not want to miss any opportunity to witness this greatest of annual global spectacles.
If you’re interested, and I know you’re not, I’m taking the Steelers with the points. But now don’t go changing the line on me.