Are you ready, football fans?
This coming Sunday millions of people across the country and probably some of the world, will be tuning in to the SUPER BOWL.
I say probably some of the world because I doubt it will be shown live, non-live or even mentioned in the halls of the Ayatollah of Sphincterstan.
But here in the good old USA, the Super Bowl has become an almost religious event. I myself am a huge football fan.
But I have a confession to make….please forgive me Lord and bless all the pygmies in New Guinea. I have tuned in every game since the Chiefs met the mighty Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. The Packers won 35-10.
Didn’t watch the whole game and haven’t ever.
Since that day, things in the world of football have never been the same. At least I think so.
Every year I get ready. I pick the right place to watch the game. I select and purchase copious amounts of my favorite beverage (Coors Light) and see what kind of food item I can add to the pot luck where I’m going.
My contributions are usually chips and dip. A five-star chef I am not.
I show up early, crack open a cold one…then miss most of the game. One of the first lessons I learned about Super Bowl Sunday was that it is not wise to start the party too early.
Especially if you claim to be a football fan, which is derived from the word fanatic.
No, usually by the second quarter, I’m distracted by the party and the game is background noise.
Case in point: one year while I still lived in Billings and the Denver Broncos made the Super Bowl, I gathered with a group of equally rowdy 19-21 year old dudes and a few dudettes, for what we thought would be the party to end all parties.
We started at about 10 a.m. Hours later, with empty beer cans and broken chips all around, I was the first one to open an eye, just in time to see the final score.
Seems all of us had dropped off to beer-induced slumberland sometime earlier…like before the game began.
I remember looking around to see my fellow revelers crashed hard on everything from the couch to the floor to a few of those giant bean-bag chairs everyone used to have.
One by one the rest of the crew came to “life”, many upset but most puzzled by how all of us could miss the entire game.
I have an explanation. They start that damn pre-game hype stuff way too early.
For hours we get deluged with stats and stories about every player, coach, ref and popcorn vendor.
By then, as has been the case with other SB parties I’ve attended, folks are feeling too good to give a rat’s behind about the game. Or in some cases, stay awake.
And the Super Bowl itself has become something surreal to the average fan. For one thing, I read that this year the average price of a ticket in the “cheap” seats has hit $6,000. That’s several months wages for a lot of folks. And the six-grand ticket comes with an oxygen tank and mask to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness that will be part of sitting so high up and far away from the field.
The good seats, those below the timberline, fetch a lot more. Some of those tickets, and by that I mean APIECE go for more than I paid for the first house I bought.
So unless you won the lottery, are part of a very generous corporation, “know somebody” or are a relative of a player, don’t forget the telescope. I mere set of binoculars will not do.
Smuggle in snacks if you can. I took my son and two daughters to a Mariners baseball game in Seattle that can offer some idea of what I mean by that.
The tickets to that game were $30 each, upper deck, left field. Too far for any home run ball hit by anyone other than Mickey Mantle or Reggie Jackson to land in your lap. Parking within a mile of the stadium was $20.
On the way to those seats, we stopped for two beers (my son was old enough to have a beer), two sodas for my daughters, a “King” dog for the four of us, and a sweet snack for the girls.
When I went to get out my wallet to pay for the ballpark meal, the lady behind the counter said “That will be $67 sir”. For a short moment in my talkative, Norwegian/Montana life I was speechless. All I could think of to say was, “you are the first robber I’ve heard of who doesn’t wear a mask.”
Now just imagine what those items would be a the BIG GAME. Well, I Googled it, while laughing because every time I hear the word Google it makes me chuckle.
At the Super Bowl held recently in Houston, a hamburger was $16, a hot dog was $8 and a 20-ounce beer was $9.
For nine dollars I could buy a 12-pack of cheap beer. Sixteen bucks worth of hamburger would make a lot of quarter-pounders and you could, on sale day at the local market, get about 60 hot dogs for eight bucks. And these would be hot dogs that haven’t been bathing in the same water for hours, maybe days.
Some will say the expense involved is justified because of the costs associated with paying the poor, underpaid players or putting on such a grand show. And don’t forget the halftime show. It ain’t cheap to get Janet Jackson to flash a world-wide audience while being twirled around by Justin Timberlake.
The best view of the game, in my “humble” opinion is in front of a big screen, HD TV in the living room of friends or in a local watering hole.
And by halftime, if you’re still watching (unless it’s for the commercials), you can use the restroom with a short line at best. Or you can wander outside, find a secluded tree and make room for more beer.
I will be “watching” again this year. I will be cozying up to a Silver Bullet or two and I will enjoy the experience.
Hopefully I will win one of the boards with the squares that cost a dollar each!
Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Clark Fork Valley Press and Mineral Independent newspapers.