Count me in for the evening

Published 12:32 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Today might not be the best time to do so, but I can no longer live with the guilt I’ve been feeling in recent weeks, so I must finally — and publicly — come clean: I have not watched a single minute of football this year.

Haven’t seen a single Sunday sideline report. Missed all of the Monday Night matchups. Threw away all my Thursday chances without a second thought. Fridays? Fahgeddaboudit. And the same for Saturdays.

I am culturally aware that football exists as America’s most popular professional sport, and I played and loved the game in high school. I once loved watching football so much that I invested in the expensive NFL Sunday Ticket satellite television service and spent hours each Sunday planted in front of a video projector in a cold, dark garage man cave.

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But somehow in recent years, there always seems to be something else to do, and I find Super Bowl Sunday arriving and making me feel as clueless as a caveman. (What, they have facemasks now?!)

Yes, I’ll be watching the game tonight with all the rest of the country — though maybe not from the kickoff. (Last year, I got home from church and a trip to the grocery store with my wife, expecting to catch the final minutes of the game, only to learn that it had been interrupted by a blackout and had only restarted about the time I turned on my television. I spent most of the rest of the game surfing the Internet to see the commercials I’d missed.)

And yes, I’d gladly accept tickets to attend a Super Bowl game — at least one that’s played somewhere warm and sunny — because there’s something exciting about being in the middle of a great, shared cultural moment, even if you have a low level of actual interest in the event.

How else, for example, could one explain the quadrennial excitement surrounding the Winter Olympics? Folks who normally start looking for a fireplace at the sound of the first falling snowflake suddenly turn into Scott Hamilton describing the difference between an Axel and an arabesque when the Winter Olympics are on.

(Suddenly the term “curling brush” means something entirely different from than it did one month earlier, and I’ve always thought the American Association of Hairdressers — there must be one, right? — should capitalize on the whole thing with a well-timed curling-competition ad campaign.)

That sense of everybody being on the same page for a couple of hours is part of the attraction of the Super Bowl for me, even in years when I’ve ignored football. Regular readers of this page will recognize that I’m often marching to a different beat, as it were. But on Super Bowl Sunday, for at least a little while, I’ll be marching right there with you, at least when I’m not replaying the commercials.

Save me some guacamole, please.