The Super Bowl Bond

Super Bowl 51 is happening this weekend, and it’s time to get prepping! We North Americans will be consuming massive quantities of nachos, chicken wings, pizza and beer, not to mention chips and desserts.  Hey, we’ve been good (mostly) all month and sticking to our New Year’s resolutions, so Superbowl has an added feeling of festivity.  Its kind of like Thanksgiving meets a Frat Party.

For me, it’s all about the entertaining.  I admit that I look forward to Super Bowl mainly as another excuse to cook and try out fun recipes I find on Pinterest.  However, even if you’re not a big fan of sports it’s easy to get sucked into the hype.

Football wasn’t something I was into as a teenager. (I was more a fan of F1 racing than I was of football.) But I still enjoyed the pageantry and of course, the half-time show.  I just didn’t really understand the game until much later.  I admit I do like watching team sports now and then.  My personal preferences are hockey and football thanks to my dad.  Growing up, there was usually a game on the TV at some point over the weekend.  While I seldom sat still long enough to watch much, it still became part of the background noise to my childhood.  I find it oddly comforting, and I know that I will forever think of my dad when I hear or see a game on TV.

Growing Up Without Sports

As an only child and a girl at that, we didn’t connect much through sports. My dad was (is?) sort of a small-town athlete hero, and  I was constantly reminded of this growing up.  He held a mild form of celebrity status and in my early years I was often fascinated by – and proud of – how everyone seemed to know him.  Even when I was old enough to venture out on my own, I would invariably be recognized by someone as “His Daughter.”

I was more interested in the arts and music.  By the time I got to high school, this was pretty apparent.  I chose to attend the same school as both my parents, but I didn’t realize just how strong my dad’s reputation was still until I got there.  I still recall the crestfallen look on my high school guidance counselor’s face whose dreams of a legacy I had to crush.  When he asked me, “Do you run?” at the end of the personal tour he gave me, I tried to let him down gently.

So I kept to the art and drama rooms and left the gym to my athletically inclined peers.  Dad never questioned my choice and was always supportive in his own way.  While I got hooked on grunge music and wearing Doc Martins, he never gave me a hard time about it.  Even still, we developed a kind of truce: we tolerated each other’s preferences as long as we both kept the volume down.

Coming To Terms

It was in my adulthood that Dad and I finally started to bond over sports,and I think that football was a big part of it. I’m not exactly sure how or when it happened, but I suspect that I was, well, bored. Whatever the case, I finally sat down next to him and started asking questions.  I’m not sure who was more surprised: my dad that I asked, or me that he answered.

Now thanks to him I have a basic understanding of football and hockey.  I also actually enjoy watching a game now and then. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to either, but I have a better appreciation for the game.

The Saga Continues

The Super Bowl is THE one game I get to watch in my house.  This may shock some people, being that my own husband was an athlete. Yes, he was a rower – and (not to brag) a damn good one – but he just isn’t into watching sports. Of any kind. Especially football.

Lucky for me he understands and lets me have the family over on Super Bowl Sunday.  He knows how much this connection means to me, and how I want to include our daughter in it.  Watching sports can offer opportunities to learn about sportsmanship and the excitement of the game.  I wish I’d learned that when I was younger.  Now, I want my own daughter to understand this and I know my dad is a perfect person to teach her.  It took me far too long in my own life to find this bond with my dad, and I don’t want her to miss out on a chance to do so with her grandfather.