So tomorrow, as you all probably know, is Super Bowl Sunday, that one day of the year when some of us realize that we are just not into football, no matter how hard we try.
There are two kinds of families in this country: football families, and everybody else. Football families begin traditions early; my best friend growing up was in full face-paint at the age of 5, cheering on her beloved New England Patriots with her mother and father, who were diehard fans. They bonded over football games, crocks of baked beans and cocktail weenies, and spent their weekends at local games, bundled up in 800 layers in order to fight off the nasty New England winter weather. Football was love to them, and they still, to this day, celebrate the big game together, regardless of who is playing.
My family, on the other hand, is a baseball family. My father grew up in Western Massachusetts and has had a lifelong devotion to the Boston Red Sox and to baseball in general, something he shared with my sisters and I when we were young. He used to drive me up to Fenway Park in the days when the Red Sox sucked so bad that you could buy good tickets about 10 minutes before the game started, and we'd spend the whole day eating peanuts and popcorn and screaming for Ellis Burks and at Wade Boggs. On our way to Boston, we'd pass under the Newton Sheraton Hotel, which had a giant "S" hung on the side. "You see," my father would say, "even Superman wants to live near Fenway Park."
(I later broke his heart by becoming a Seattle Mariners fan when I was 12, but karma has repaid me by ensuring that the Mariners are the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked, so it's all worked out now.)
I will admit to being a bit jealous of football families on Super Bowl Sunday: there is a type of excitement that can't be faked, and for whatever reason, I just can't get into football. I have tried so bloody hard over the years to get into the Super Bowl; I was in college in Boston when the Patriots won, and you'd think that kind of energy would do it, but I was still pretty meh on the whole thing. You can't pick the sports you love, I guess. I can appreciate a Super Bowl win, but it's not something that means the world to me, like it does for my football-loving friends.
It used to be that even non-football lovers could watch the Super Bowl for the commercials alone; but YouTube and a consistent downhill slide in decent commercials over the past few years has made even that aspect of the game pretty lame, and as for the half-time show, if I wanted to watch a middle-aged man dance around awkwardly in a stupid outfit, I'd just ask my dad to perform his "watch me do a triple axel, Hortense" carpet-figure-skating routine in his pajamas that he breaks out during every Winter Olympics.
So tomorrow, when the Super Bowl Sunday parties roll around, those of you who love the game will have another memory to add to your banks, and some of you will either have the best day ever or the worst day ever, depending on if your team pulls through or not. For the rest of us, there's always the commercials, the Super Bowl Sunday spread, and the knowledge that Opening Day is just around the corner.