Every year since it’s inception in 1996, my Fantasy Football League has had an end of the season Super Bowl party. This is an all day affair starting in the early afternoon and carries on late into the night. There is always tons of food: barbecue, fish, oysters (I even recall a pig roast or two), and of course, plenty of adult beverages. The day is made up of hanging out with friends, playing horse-shoes and cards, and telling outlandish stories (some of which might even be true). When the Super Bowl is close to starting, everyone jockeys for seats in front of one of the many TVs set up inside and out. After the big game, a large contingent of the party will head out to the local watering holes to continue celebrating for the sake of celebration.
This was how I remember Super Bowl 33, as a single man clinging to my twenties and wearing a faded orange John Elway jersey (that I had obviously outgrown), out celebrating the “Duke’s” farewell victory.
My how things have changed since then. This past weekend, twelve years since the Bronco’s last trip to the Super Bowl, the way I enjoyed America’s greatest sporting event was slightly…different. Now as a married man with two young children, I’m desperately clinging to my thirties. My wife had to work this weekend, so instead of spending “Super Sunday” like I had so many years before, the “big” Super Bowl party took place at home, participants included my three-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, and me. Instead of exchanging tall tales over a cold one, I read storybooks to my kids over sippy-cups of apple juice. When the game was beginning to start, my son and I changed into our Bronco jerseys – a much roomier Terrell Davis one for me and Brandon Marshall’s #15 for him.
As we sat down for the game, my son asked, “Are the Broncos playing? They’re our favorite team.” I said “no” and explained to him how Pittsburgh and Green Bay were the two best teams this year, and that’s why they get to play in the Super Bowl.
To be honest, it is a little difficult to be completely engrossed in a game that doesn’t include the team that I’ve been so emotionally invested in since I was an eleven-year-old boy and Elway was just a rookie. To me, Super Bowl Sundays have always been more about the tradition of guys getting together and acting like kids into the wee hours of the night. But now I’ve discovered something better. Now there is a new tradition I’ll have for Super Bowl Sundays…watching the game and talking football with my son. Granted at three, he didn’t really understand my questioning of Steelers’ play calling in the fourth quarter or why I was so impressed with how the Packers were playing despite their injuries, but he knew I was excited about it, so in turn he took an interest.
I look forward to spending more time telling him stories about Elway and the Broncos finally winning a championship, telling him about the other great players on those teams like Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, etc.
On Sunday, I saw what will continue to be my new Super Bowl tradition, and I already can’t wait for it next year, whether our favorite team is playing or not. It may have been better being a Denver Broncos fan twelve years ago, but life is better now…and soon the Broncos will be too.
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