Somewhere between two hours of pre-game coverage and halftime of the Super Bowl, my satellite TV receiver informed me it was about to automatically turn off due to “inactivity.”
It is a sobering experience when your household technology grows tired of your laziness, but on the whole I do appreciate this feature—I guess it saves electricity when I forget to turn it off. It is also easily remedied. All I have to do is hit the button indicating that yes, after four hours, I am still watching TV.
I moved the plate of food off my gut and got up from the couch to find the remote. After sifting through the litter of food around me, I finally found the remote and put the game back on. I sat back down and accidentally crushed a pork rind. That’s when I began to realize what I was doing to myself.
In the glorious name of the Super Bowl I was championing gluttony to the extent of double-digit chicken wings, hefty helpings of pizza, and probably a gallon of Coke and beer. Oh, and a bowl of chili, forgot that.
It makes sense that I feel inadequate watching the best athletes in the world compete on the football field. Here they are running, blocking, tackling, and juking with ridiculous speed and strength while I sit idly by, bloated on the couch, accomplishing the only task that I figure can begin to match theirs—eating, and lots of it.
The key is coming up with a game plan. I avoided any party where females might lower their opinion of me upon witnessing the pizza sauce rally being held on my shirt and the sinews of chicken jam-packed between my teeth. Plus, girls make me self-conscious, and nothing short of complete concentration will do when attempting to dip chips without taking my eyes off the TV.
I organized commercial breaks, making sure I knew which delicacies I desired beforehand and where I might find them. I was meticulously robotic the way I filled my plate, like some assembly line worker. But even with the strict planning I was still prone to whimsy making my way down the buffet line. “Another slice of pizza? Why not!” “A football shaped cookie? Well really it would only be appropriate.” “Ice cream? It is the Super Bowl, after all!”
So I ate and watched. And ate. Did I mention that I ate?
After all the eating I might have maintained consciousness had the game been more competitive at the time, but the Ravens were dominating, and I slipped into a food coma. When I came out of it both teams apparently decided to turn off the stadium lights and take a nap. Needless to say, I supported this decision.
In reality, it turned out the players sleeping on the ground were actually stretching and a power outage had occurred.
Then the lights came on and the 49ers started scoring. And scoring. The game now exciting, I was revitalized with energy, jumping enthusiastically despite a dull stomachache. I began rooting for the 49ers, though I entered the game neutral, and they almost came all the way back to win. So close, yet still inspiring to see such a late effort when all seemed dire.
That’s when I looked at myself. What had I achieved by gorging my gullet? I considered the players, how they gave their all. Many would go back to their hotel rooms, collapsing exhausted. And me? Well, I was probably going to collapse too, but that had more to do with my bloodstream consisting mostly of ranch dressing. I wasn’t like those players. I sacrificed nothing, only indulged. There was much shame that night. The stains on my T-shirt will forever display the scars of that shame.
I tell about my experience to provide food for thought instead of eating. Are we placing too much importance on Super Bowl cuisine? How can we stand to be so inactive while watching inherently active sports? And did you imagine yourself as an obese Roman emperor chomping on a big leg of mutton as you watched the 49ers and Ravens battle from your cushioned throne, with each smashing hit harking back to the day of gladiators?
No, just me? OK.
Anyway, gathering everyone for football is special and sharing food is sacred in its own way. But I learned not to get too hyped up about a silly game, to eat moderately, and to take the chicken wing out of my mouth and socialize more. It is the relationships between the fans that matter, as well as their health, because everyone wants to be alive and together for the next Super Bowl.
On that note, my party next year will be vegan themed. Yeah, right! That will happen when the Browns win the Super Bowl. Or when pigs fly….or when…mmm…bacon.