Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. (I think I’m allowed to say ‘Super Bowl’!? I’m not trying to say that “this is the official blog if the Super Bowl” or anything, so I shouldn’t have to say ‘The Big Game’ or some other ridiculous euphamism. Nobody else is that brand protective. You don’t see people being forced to talk about ‘The Quadrenial World Event’. They just say Olympics, official sponsor or not. Wait, I think I am getting off point…)
As an NFL die hard, today is like a holiday. Get friends and family together, eat a lot of food and sit around watching TV. What says ‘holiday’ more than that?
But sometimes the best laid plans go awry and Super Sunday entails something more than watching The Big Game.
You would think that Super Bowl Sunday as a college freshman who was in a fraternity would equal ‘Best Super Bowl Ever’. But alas we weren’t that organized, add in that I was a newbie and
not nearly as cool then as I am now just as dorky then as I am now and you already have a recipe for disaster. On the plus side, my girlfriend at the time had decided to visit me for the weekend which eased the blow of my social awkwardness.
She was a freshman at a school just north of Chicago and both of us being “poor college students” we didn’t have a car. So she took the train down to West Lafayette. We had a nice weekend together (I guess, to be honest nothing sticks out of what we did. The memorable part comes next…) and the time came for her to head back home. With neither of us having a car, I had arranged for a cab to pick us up and take us to Lafayette to the train station.
Unfortunately, said cab never showed up. Starting to panic a little, knowing this was the last train to Chicago until Tuesday, I ran across the street to the fraternity house from my dorm, looking for someone with a car. (The cab company was of no help on the phone.) Time was of the essence and there was no one available to help me. In the blink of an eye, time ran out. Fear set in. Now what?
After freaking out for a good five more minutes or so, I thought of a solution, although a long shot. One of my good friends lived in the dorm with me and had a car. Maybe, just maybe, he would let me borrow it so I could drive my girlfriend to Union Station in Downtown Chicago. (Why I didn’t recruit him to drive us or borrow his car to get to the station, I still don’t know. I think some of it has to do with m not liking to ask for help.)
Enter “The Bringer of Pain” (aka The Bringer). I had only met Scott a few months ago but we were fast friends through our love of the Cubs, “John Madden Football” and less than ideal college roommates. (Scott is the only person I have seen in person that was better at Madden than my little brother. Alas we never could set up this dream match-up.) The good news was that (miraculously) Scott was willing to let me use his car. The bad news, it was a stick shift and I couldn’t drive stick. D’oh! Another dream dies.
Until, Scott inexplicably decided that he would drive us to Chicago. The one fly in the ointment was that he had a report to do first. He was going to finish it in a couple of hours and then drive us. By this time, it was about 5pm. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about how this whole experience was going to totally ruin my Super Bowl watching. I wasn’t a complete jerk of a boyfriend as I also had parts of my brain dedicated to the tragedy of the situation and not wanting my girlfriend to miss any classes. But the Super Bowl was definitely on my mind.
So, with this delay in departure, at least I could now catch some of Super Bowl XXX (Cowboys and Steelers in ’96). I remember feeling guilty the whole time I was watching the Super Bowl and couldn’t completely enjoy it. Not only for helping us get into this mess, but every minute of the Super Bowl we watched meant a later arrival time. In the end, I did end up getting to see all of it, including the first onside kick I ever remember seeing in the Super Bowl and possibly the most crushing Super Bowl interception this side of Rex Grossman.
A little while later, the three of us piled into my friend’s red Nissan Sentra and took the long journey up and back to Chicago. I still don’t remember exactly what time we got back, but it was pretty late. I also don’t remember any specific conversations on the way up with my girlfriend, nor on the way back with just me and The Bringer (this nickname was not bestowed upon Scott until a few years later during an excellent Spring Break trip which I will probably describe in the future.) But looking back on it now, I wonder a lot about this trip. I wonder why exactly Scott ever said yes to this crazy plan. I wonder how we never manage to bring this story up more often between the two of us. (It may have had something to do with the “Vow of Secrecy” we took so that his parents would never find out. I think we took it a bit too far!) I also wonder if this was the moment that cemented our friendship. For we are still very good friends to this day, despite rarely getting to see each other in person. That was a Super Bowl I will never forget.
I am the defending neighborhood Super Bowl quiz champion (the “quiz” is really a series of prop bets) and I started the playoffs picking games, so I will throw in my Super Bowl pick. Everyone thinks it is going to be high-scoring so of course it will be a defensive struggle. I think Ben Roethewslkhdlqwiefhberger will be too much for the Packers to handle and the Steelers will win yet another Super Bowl, this time by the score of 21-17.