Wed, Jan 25, 2012 12:07 PM
The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 in Los
Angeles. Anyone remember who won? Anyone remember who played?
Well Green Bay romped Kansas City in a 35-10 win. I was 12 years
The Super Bowl has become not just another football game; it is an
event. The hype begins long before we know which two teams
will survive the playoffs and meet head on for the title of Super
Bowl Champion. Bars and Pubs advertise game-day drink specials and
buffets. Appliance and electronics stores run sales that slash
prices on televisions with gargantuan-sized screens.
Supermarkets print circulars offering ready-made platters,
pre-cooked chicken wings and family-sized bags of chips. Football
lovers plan home-based Super Bowl parties and the true die-hards
put in for a Monday vacation-day from work. It's serious business.
And let's not forget the commercials… it's all about the premiere
of the commercials.
I grew up in a female-only home. I honestly don't remember when I
viewed my first professional football game though I am certain it
was not until after I starting dating. That was when I learned
about the relationship between men and sports. Prior to that, I
barely knew football existed.
Super Bowl Sunday my mother's house was treated like any other
Sunday. There was a steadfast routine and we grew up knowing that
no one veered from the timeline, not for any reason. Dinner was on
the table at six o'clock. There were times my mother threatened
that dinner would be late because she was hurriedly trying to get a
half dozen different items to be fully-cooked at the same time. She
always managed to make it happen and at six o'clock promptly, we
were beckoned to the kitchen. If you had been outside playing, you
darn well better be inside with enough time to wash your hands
before coming to the table.
Sometimes we would eat at the kitchen table. There was no dining
room in our modest home. My mother fancied simple contemporary
furniture. She traded in the plain, square kitchen table and chairs
for a round, white model that was accompanied by four bright orange
over-sized chairs. It was too big for the room and you had to
squeeze yourself between the chairs and the wall to be
More often, mom would allow us to set up the metal TV tray stands
in the living room so we could eat in front of the television. As
much as we viewed this as a treat, it was often outweighed by the
stress of fearing you might spill your soda on the rug. The tables
were not the sturdiest invention of the era and the fallout of said
spill could be felt for days along with a moratorium on living-room
dining for weeks to come.
Like the Super Bowl, Sunday dinner was an event in our hoouse. Mom
had a handful of Sunday meals that were her staples, and most
required all-day slow-cooking which meant the house had wafting
aromas that teased us all day long. There was no taste-testing
except by mom, and it was pointless to even ask. I can't say if I
had a favorite, each meal to me was a delicacy on its own. Though
mom's heritage was German-Irish, she could make a mean pot of sauce
and meatballs. Her pot roast was the most tender I ever tasted and
it was always served with mashed potatoes that she whipped with
plenty of butter.
Roast beef was a rare treat. We had a table-top rotisserie oven
that took longer to clean than it did to roast the beef. Mom could
be heard cursing during the dish-washing process, vowing to get rid
of the monstrosity once and for all. It typically took not one, but
two Brillo pads to complete.
Post-dinner was bath time, but they had to be spaced properly in
order to allow enough time for the clanky oil burner to reheat the
water in the tank. If you tried to fill the tub too soon, you were
in for a lukewarm bath which was no fun, especially in the
Sunday night television viewing never included football. The games
aired during the afternoon while we were busy with kickball, bike
riding or last-minute homework assignments. But Sunday nights were
sacred. I have vivid memories of Jackie Gleason's June Taylor
dancers performing synchronized numbers that were filmed from
above. It was like watching a human kalaidascope. Sunday's
bore plenty of episodes of Lassie barking incessantly to alert
someone that Timmy had fallen in the well or was backed into a
corner by a venomous snake.
We also went through the Sunday night Western phase with The
Rifleman, Gunsmoke and The Rebel (ah, Nick Adams). For many years,
it was a black and white extravaganza, but I will never forget my
first experience seeing the NBC peacock spread its wings in
Technicolor. It was at the home of a friend of my mother's and was
the most amazing thing I had ever seen. It was followed by a
similarly colorful Bonanza which made Little Joe even cuter.
Times have changed and I actually do watch the Super Bowl now,
along with millions of others. The other stations choose to run
previously viewed shows realizing there's no contest. We gather our
snacks, we chill the beer and we grab seats in front of the big
screen. I typically do not have a vested interest in the game,
though somehow my daughters grew up to be huge football fans. I'm
sure it had something to do with the fact that their father donned
the house with New York Giants paraphernalia every Sunday while
they were growing up. But for me, I just want to see the
commercials. Oh, and maybe the June Taylor Dancers performing the