The year Whitney owned the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, my family and I attended a football party at a friend’s house. All of the kids swan together in the summers on swim team. On arrival, instant fun. Meanwhile, the adults chatted and joked around in scattered clusters. The house filled quickly with the smells of favorite snacks and the sound of laughter over the announcers on the big screen TV. My family was decked out in our red white and blue Buffalo Bills gear. My stylish sister probably wore her dangle helmet earnings. Partying in suburban PA, no one except us cared much about the outcome of the game.
My team lost. My heart would break a little bit. There’s an upside though. As a kid, staying loyal to your favorite team when they lose builds your ability to face adversity, at least on the playground. Being a Buffalo Bills fan allowed me to experience firsthand many times no matter how much you want something to happen in life, things don’t always work out.
Today, two teams face off for Super Bowl 50. In the long shadow of veteran players with suspected cases of CTE , we Americans continue to cheer on our teams in this violent yet ironically stress-relieving entertainment. We can’t look away. We can’t give up the exhilaration.
Today, I’ll be looking away from the game to fire up Netflix. I’m still not able to completely break free of football though. The 30 for 30 series is top on my list, the wave of gameday memories and the need to know how my favorite childhood players are doing propels me to watch Four Falls of Buffalo. My sister told me at one point, Bruce and Thurman sit on a couch watching a game replay together, their hearts breaking a little bit, too. I know they paid a greater price, putting their physical well-being on the line for those of us in the stands and in front of TVs. It makes me misty eyed to think about it.
It’s just a game, but when nostalgia and emotions and camaraderie combine, it’s hard to turn away. Pass the pretzels and beer cheese. This might go into overtime.
Do you watch American football? Which team do you root for? Do concussion-related health issues in sports bother you? Will you be going to a Super Bowl party? What is your favorite snack? Tell me about it.