You’d think Super Bowl Sunday would be a huge deal to a household with a sports-nut father, a relatively sports-literate mother, and three sons (ages 17, 14, and 10).
You would be wrong.
At the risk of sounding anti-American, I was so busy working on a writing/editing project, I completely forgot about the game. I didn’t remember until about seven minutes after kickoff (the 49ers were already losing 7-0). I quickly rounded up the gang to watch it with me on the big screen.
My youngest son Sean was an immediate taker. He hopped off the computer and ran downstairs to the man cave. Then I poked my head into the room shared by my two older boys.
“The Super Bowl is on!” I said.
“I’m doing homework,” my oldest son Tommy said. “Paper’s due on Tuesday.”
“You’re working on a paper in advance?” I asked, not certain this was actually my son.
“Yup,” he replied.
There was no way I was going to discourage that sort of behavior. It was the kind of thing the Guinness World Records people should have been notified about.
“What about you, Johnny?”
“I’m going to Youth Ministry tonight,” he said.
I honestly thought he was joking. It’s safe to say my middle son is not exactly religious. Johnny high-fived the entire town on his last day of Religious Ed after being confirmed last year. He called it “one of the best days of my life” because he would never have to go back. There are only a few certainties in life, but you can add “Johnny groaning loudly when he’s told we’re going to Mass” to a list that previously included only death and taxes. And yet, he appeared to be serious.
“Can I ask why you’re going to Youth Ministry?”
“A friend of mine goes, and I thought I’d check it out.”
“On Super Bowl Sunday???”
“Yeah,” he said. “Why not?”
How can you tell a teenager to avoid a well supervised wholesome activity to watch a football game instead? You can’t. I didn’t. Instead I sought out my commercial-loving wife.
“Super Bowl’s on,” I said to her. “Best commercials of the year.”
“Not tonight,” she said. “I’m watching my favorite show.”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
“Property Brothers,” she said. “This is a good one too.”
And she was totally serious too. So, Tommy, Johnny and Bridget were NOT present in the man cave for the biggest sporting event of the year. Only Sean and I settled in front of the big screen to watch the game together, and the youngster and I definitely bonded over a very exciting football game. Although, before you attribute “all-American boy status” on Sean, you should know there was (as is nearly always the case with Sean) an ulterior motive at play.
“You know the best thing about watching the Super Bowl with you Dad?” he said to me during the long power outage.
“You’re going to let me stay up late tonight.”
Maybe next year I’ll go to someone else’s house.