I've never understood football. Growing up in suburban CT, this was a pretty important sport. But I didn't come from a very culturally sports-centric family. I remember attending a game or two, I think because my dad thought we should go just to get in the town spirit. Maybe as one of the only Jewish families this was something we had to do occasionally to pay dues for owning property there. I remember being cold. And bored. But pretty happy when one of the cheerleaders wore her uniform to school the next day, got the skirt caught in the potters' wheel in art class and went face first into the clay. If football could have been like that all the time, I was so there. But it wasn't. All that stopping and starting didn't seem to have a point. I knew they'd do just fine without me while I read a book or listened to Siouxsie and the Banshees instead.
Admittedly, I'm a bit girlie sometimes. But I do like sports. I've always liked tennis and later in life I came to appreciate basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer. But football has always left me as cold as I felt in those bleachers. No matter how many times it was explained, it never connected.
I'm one of those people who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials and the halftime show if it's someone interesting. Prince was on fire that year, wasn't he? Even if a New York team is in it, I've never cared much. I've been happy for them and NYC!! NYC!!! and all, but actually WATCHING the game never interested me. It's a fantastic night to get into a good restaurant without a reservation.
I've been persuaded to buy boxes at bars. I am such a great candidate for this tradition because I want to support the bar and hell yeah I want to win the pool. But even if you tell me what box # I have I will have no clue whether my score matches anything that happens in the game. I could totally win and have no idea.
But last Sunday changed all that. What was meant to be a quick afternoon lunch at the Lobo, with maybe one or two margaritas for the when-in-Romaness of it, ended up being ten hours of community football watching. My pal Stephanie was there explaining the plays and the purpose behind them. The bar patrons were listening in and adding their pointers, joining in conversations until the action on the TV demanded an "OOOOOHH!" or "YESSSS" or "AWWWWWW." It was all starting to make sense and I got sucked in. There was tequila involved. And mezcal. It was a long ass day. Plus our bartender, Tim, was playing Siouxsie and the Banshees! Suddenly football and goth weren't mutually exclusive!
The big game, of course, was the playoff between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. It advanced in little tense increments, and at a certain point it definitely could have gone either way. But the way this game works, apparently, there's a moment where it is definitely up to one team. Do or die. Make or break. Hail Mary. And that moment came with a field goal attempt by the Giants. That kick had to be perfect. Stephanie got us all to hold hands around the bar at that moment. No one breathed.
When the cheering subsided and the tequila was slammed, people who didn't know each other before this night were chatting, laughing and bonding (and slurring) together. We've just been through something. NYC!! NYC!!! It was fun! Giants in the Superbowl, baby, yeah! I'm definitely going to watch, even the actual game this time.
Ow. OK, maybe not with quite so much agave distillate involved.