I liked Sunday’s game. Final score: 800 wings and a 40-ounce Bloody Mary.
Americans seem disappointed in the Super Bowl. “This game could’ve been an e-mail,” grumbled one.
Yet, I think the storyline, the streaker, the tame halftime show that gave us all a chance to take a nap, provided more entertainment than I usually get. Me, I thought it was a super Super Bowl.
Though, you have to love the NFL for its consistently lame attempts at trendy and edgy halftime entertainment. Last year, they hired a couple of pole dancers, and this year they featured a snoozy, relatively unknown pop singer. Oy, meh. Honestly, I’d have preferred the Grambling Marching Band.
Dear NFL: Why not Dolly Parton? Why not Stevie Wonder? Why not Peyton Manning and Tina Fey explaining the arcane rules for what constitutes a catch?
For me, the highlight of the day came in the fourth quarter, when my pregnant daughter pulled up her shirt to show how her navel was close to popping. For a second, I thought she was doing her Andy Reid impression.
Then I got my wits about me, lifted my shirt and said, “Look, my belly button’s popping too!”
In my defense, I’d consumed about 800 wings by that point. My lovely and patient older daughter had also made her mom’s cheesy artichoke dip, and a big tray of loaded tater tots – all dishes known for being healthy and light. Fortunately, I’d worn my stretchy rubber britches.
Bottom line on the pregnancy: She’s due in May. I’m due any minute.
Our family isn’t satisfied with the usual massive feast on Super Bowl, we also exchange gifts. I treated Smartacus to a breakfast burrito from the joint up the street, featuring the sort of seasoned griddle that you can’t buy, you can only nourish with decades of peppers, onions and carne asada. A grill that has been chin-kissed by angels.
He liked the burrito well enough.
“But I didn’t get you anything,” he said, though he did offer to pour chili all over me and shove me in the microwave.
“Wow, no,” I said.
“It’s the thought, right?” he said.
“Maybe next year,” I said.
I like the surprise of Super Bowl gifts, and the resonance they lend to such an enormous celebration.
It’s a special holiday; I got up extra early. I took a nice walk around the Rose Bowl with White Fang to stretch our legs and prepare our lungs for the senseless yelling that would take place later in the day.
Not sure if I mentioned it, but White Fang and I are training for next year’s Iditarod. We don’t have a dogsled yet, or even a jacket heavy enough for an icy race.
“Hey White Fang, can I borrow your coat?” I ask her on cold February mornings.
She doesn’t get the joke. Or maybe I’ve told it too often.
Anyway, we’re excited about the Iditarod. I haven’t done many father-daughter activities with White Fang, and I think that eventually winning the Iditarod would give us quality time together and many stories to share.
It’ll be much like girls softball was for me and my younger daughter, Rapunzel. It wasn’t so much the games that mattered, it was hanging out, being together — the tears, the laughter, the broken fingers…the splints. That’s what youth sports is all about.
Another benefit: White Fang will probably make lifelong friends during the Iditarod. She’ll leave her snowy footprints across Alaska, and stop to pee, like a million times. That’s one of the things we practice during our Rose Bowl training sessions: not peeing. We’ve got a ways to go.
Oh, and I also made a funky gumbo on Saturday night, for our Zoom Super Bowl Bash, featuring David, Deb and Ella and my buddy Jeff and his dad, Mike, who is 99 but looks 59. Heck, Mike looks better than me, which probably isn’t saying much.
Though I watch what I eat, I seem to be retaining a lot of water. Maybe it’s the pregnancy?
Looking back, I think the Zoom bash went as well as any presentation could when the main feature is me sitting at a stove stirring oil and flour, while repeating: “DON’T BURN THE ROUX! DON’T BURN THE ROUX!” as it was obviously burning — there might’ve been flames shooting out the side.
I’m just glad the smoke detectors didn’t go off as they usually do when I cook. In fact, that’s how Smartacus usually knows dinner is ready – smoke detectors screaming throughout the house.
Still, the Super Bowl bash seemed a huge success. It was cool to see so many faces, and matching names to faces, and getting a peek inside people’s homes, which is the real thrill of any Zoom event (whew, that beach house?!).
So, the Zoom bash will be a memory. I will fold it up like a Valentine and keep it forever.
I’ll also relish the memory of playing with my daughter’s golden retriever puppy during the big game – is there anything better than wrestling with a pup? I think not. I just like their doughy aroma.
Penny Laine, the pup, likes to rumble on the floor and bite my elbow. The experience reminds me of a good first date. Coincidentally, in LA, the first date is known as “the nibble date” and is considered halfway between first and second base. Good enough for me.
By the way, dating in LA is a little different: “Second base” is a court hearing; “Third base” is a restraining order.
If you’re wondering about my drinking, I assure you I was overly behaved. I had only one drink on Super Bowl Sunday: 40 ounces, 30 or which was Tito’s vodka, with some Bloody Mary mix thrown in for color. And olives. And celery. Couple of beach chairs. Yum!
So, it was a superb Sunday, full of super things, bloated bellies, and bouncy puppies.
I gifted the new son-in-law Finn with a vintage game program I had kept from Super Bowl III, the one where his beloved Jets beat the Colts in one of the greatest upsets of all time. Here’s the score on that transaction: I gave him an old game program and my oldest daughter. In return, Finn is giving me a grandchild. Obviously, I got the better end of that deal.
A final Super Bowl note: Tom Brady always flies his favorite priest to Super Bowl games he’s in, and sure enough, up in the Brady family box, we recognized Monsignor Torgerson.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who’d prepared for every possibility, every formation, every outlandish stunt, obviously had no answer for this quick-stepping Torgerson fellow, who (by coincidence) also happened to officiate my daughter’s June wedding. And it’s lasted!
Kinda crazy, huh? Football is such a celebration of friendship and food, the high point of any weekend, really the best part of every year.
Sad it’s over? Nope. Happy it happened, rubber pants and all.
There are a few spots left for our Valentine’s weekend hike at the Rose Bowl. Please email me at letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. If you don’t hear back, that means we’re sold out. More hikes coming up soon! Please support this fragile enterprise by purchasing a book or a t-shirt, at ChrisErskineLA.com. The gin & tonic glasses are especially popular. Cheers!