Posted by: jevcat | February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Rituals

The only football I've ever seen about which I feel enthusiastic.

I’m not a football fan, never have been.  In childhood, my father tried – unsuccessfully – to teach me to throw a football properly.  I did acquire from him an appreciation for the beauty of a quarterback eluding defenders and threading a perfectly aimed, rapidly rotating oblong through the opposition to a receiver.  I acknowledge the excitement of watching a skilled receiver rapidly weave and dodge down the field, leaving frustrated defensive players tumbling and prone in his wake.

But even on a good day, that accounts for, what?  Maybe 15 minutes, total, of a three-to-four-hour game?  And the rest is a bunch of guys the size of refrigerators – heck, nowadays the size of small trucks – grunting, bumping, bruising and otherwise attempting to mangle each other.  Even the prospect of viewing any number of muscular male butts in skin-tight uniforms doesn’t compensate sufficiently.  And aren’t peddle-pushers passé these days, fashion-wise?  And the half-time show?  Talk about “sound and fury signifying nothing”! – the only half-time show I ever thought worth watching was the year during the run of In Living Color when they did their own live half-time show to coincide with the “official” one.  In recent years, I have to put up with my Beloved’s unflattering comparisons with rugby (which, along with soccer, he played in youth) and queries about rules (which I usually can’t answer, since I don’t know most of them).

Nevertheless, every year, Super Bowl game-time finds me in front of the tv with a bucket or box of KFC.  How did this happen?

When my father and brother were going through the standard father-vs.-adolescent-son-loggerheads thing, sometimes the only time they could be in the same room without at least muffled explosions was if they were watching football, especially the Super Bowl.  Somewhere along the line, Kentucky Fried Chicken became part of the equation.  Somewhere along the line, so did I.

In his last few years, Dad’s health (and Mom’s) dictated that he be moved to a nearby nursing home, but still, every Super Bowl Sunday, my brother and I would pick up a bucket of KFC and head over to watch it with Dad.  When Dad died just a few weeks before the Super Bowl 14 years ago, my brother asked me, “So, are we still watching the Super Bowl together over KFC?”  The answer was, “Of course.”

The first few years, we alternated between his apartment at the northern end of the city and mine at the southern end.  One year we met at a sports bar in the middle.  Eventually, weather, flu, the vagaries of daily life, led to missed years.  Neither one of us likes to be out late on Sunday nights.  By mutual agreement, we now watch in separate locations.  But some constants remain:  We always meet for a drink Dad’s honor at some point on the afternoon of the game day, and we keep in touch by text or phone throughout the game, sharing extra-ordinary plays and good commercials (the latter being the best reason to watch the Super Bowl) – and we have a pact to always do this while consuming KFC.

Cue to “clink” drumsticks:  This one’s for you, Dad!


  1. sweet…our house today was quiet…just our family…eating much too much salt, drinking too many sodas…
    next, it’s GLEE with some ice cream and cookies.
    Will feel this tomorrow!

  2. Aww…I like that you still meet for drinks in your dad’s honor, even if your greasy-fingered KFC ritual is a solo effort. And now I’m craving fried chicken!

    • Glad you liked it, Mark, and sorry about that craving …

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