When you're a 40-year-old sports fan, Super Bowl Sunday is a big day, kind of like a mini-New Year's Eve, only you really don't have to stay up that late for what amounts to no reason at all.
SBS is simple for guys. All we need is a TV (the larger the better), a bucket full of wings (the larger the better), a keg (the larger the better), a couch (the larger the better) and some of your close friends (some of whom will probably be large). Some party hosts will include a veggie tray - you know, for color.
Super Bowl parties are the most accurate display outside of a bar setting of men being men. It's eating, drinking, swearing, spilling, arguing, belching, betting, and sleeping all rolled into one. It's men trying to squeeze in as many deadly sins as they can in five hours. It's gross and beautiful at the same time. And it doesn't matter if there's more of the former than the latter.
This, of course, only applies to normal 40-year-old men. Then there's me, a single parent of a 9-year-old girl, whose Super Bowl excitement didn't max out until Cee Lo and Nicki Minaj took the stage at halftime, then plummeted like a punt shortly after rapper M.I.A. flipped off the world.
No, she wasn't exactly X-ing off the days on her calendar like kids do for their Christmas countdowns, but that didn't stop me from squeezing some kind of bonding time out of this special holiday.
In my attempt to get her into the game, I told her about the two teams and how the Giants beat the Patriots four Super Bowls ago. I told her about the great quarterback matchup she was about to witness and to keep an eye on how their two Hall of Fame-bound coaches would try to out-think the other.
She wasn't buying. Of course she wasn't; it took me almost a quarter to explain first downs and penalties and why one kick is good for one point and one is good for three. Plus, after watching the Puppy Bowl for two hours, the piddly Super Bowl paled by comparison.
What did get her attention was learning we would be making our special dip (special being melted cheese mixed with beanless chili) for the game. Not exactly Iron Chef material, but who cares? That got her in Super Bowl mood. That, and the fact that I told her she could stay up a half hour later than she usually would on a school night. With foreshadowing like that I could've gotten her to watch M*A*S*H reruns for two hours after cleaning out the crud in the fridge and scrubbing the toilet in her bathroom.
It also helped that I agreed to partake in some of the more non-traditional Super Bowl events, like an UNO tournament and a pre-game Bratz Miss America competition performed on the sofa. I agreed to be the judge for the pageant on the condition that a winner would be crowned before kickoff.
I suppose this is what being a single father is all about - sacrificing an evening of debauchery with the fellas as we celebrate a real slice of Americana the way God intended us to for a homemade beauty pageant and a bowl of our special dip (the larger the better).