WHERE’S THE PARTY…?

On Sunday, February 7th, Super Bowl LV took place in Tampa Florida, where the local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers matched up with the Kansas City Chiefs playing in Tampa, Florida. By the time you folks get access to this edition, you may know who was the winner and who was the loser, or at least on the gridiron.

However, there were a few other winners and losers that was connected to the pro sports game that beasts all sports games by a mile (or yard!)

Unlike other Super Bowl games in the past where the big talk was not only about the teams, the game plans, and the players that participated, but everything else that was not the game itself! It was all about the commercials, the half time event, and of course, the many Super Bowl watching parties that occurred in bars, restaurants, meeting halls, and private homes.

These parties, from small intimate affairs to lavish “blow-out” events, were just as part of “the big game” (the generic name of The Super Bowl that’s used by those that don’t wish to get a lawsuit called on them from the NFL), than what took place on the field. Many folks planed for such events weeks, sometimes months, ahead of the game. Many electronic retailers tend to feature sales on big screen TV sets around two weeks before the opening kickoff. Supermarkets tend to stock up on snack items that would be served at a party. Restaurants and bars (sport bars mostly, but any place that serves alcohol) would offer specials so folks can come in to dine, drink, and even watch the game on dozens of TV monitors that are affixed on every wall space available at the joint. Overall, it was a day to celebrate the final match of the football season. And the most ironic part of this hoopla is the fact that these events attract people that would otherwise hold little to no interest in the game or football itself! These folks came just for the party and the atmosphere it created. In other words, it was time for a party set during the middle of winter where the mid-winter blahs would be set in, and would be the only day to celebrate something or another until St. Patty’s Day.

We are aware that there is another holiday taking place later in February, President’s Day on February 22nd. But the only thing that takes place on that weekend is huge sales on mattresses. We have yet to figure out the connection of discounts on mattresses and the day to commemorate the birthdays of George Washington and Abe Lincoln. Maybe these two one-time leaders of the USA couldn’t sleep thanks to a lumpy or perhaps, nonexistent mattress. But we digress!

Getting back to the winners and losers. We know who were the winners are. CBS for a huge spike in the ratings when the game was made available on more video platforms one could count, the advertisers stepping up to the plate (so to speak) in shelling out 5.5 million for a brief spot of time to get their word out to their audience, and the moral that the fans (and non-fans) that could have needed on that first Sunday in February.

The losers? The for noted bars, restaurants, meeting halls, and even those living in a dwelling place that would normally throw a bash where folks would gather, dine on food and snacks, guzzle beverages both of the soft and hard variety, tune to the lavish commercials, view an amusing and perhaps entertaining half time concert, and maybe even watch the game itself. It would be a Sunday worth its while.

This time around, moods are rather different. Because of the virus of the year (Decade? Century?), the idea for a party just to watch/not watch a game was more subdued. In many areas of the nation, bars and restaurants only had to offer their services through take out and/or outdoor dining. People were a little hesitant in offering parties unless they were close family members, trusted friends, or anyone they would know of that was free and clear of any viruses whose name resembles a vanity license plate number.

Generally speaking, people are not necessarily in the same party mood since the last time The Big Game occurred.

The advertisers that offered their commercials this year also changed their game plan but toning down the lavish attitudes that are part of a Super Bowl TV spot that only tends to air for one time only. Many of the regular brands decided to sit on the sideline bench this year, while other brands came back after a leave of absence, or even made their rookie appearance this year. It was a spirit that knew what it was getting itself into, and played along with it all!

This writer knew of a couple that for many years hosted Super Bowl watching parties. They had a big screen TV device all fired up, while the “man of the house” (this is a couple that lives together but isn’t legally married) drags out his big-deal BBQ in the back yard to create just about anything that can be grilled, from vegetables to meat–and plenty of the latter! The “lady of the home” would be in charge of the rest of the spread, creating side dishes that were meals into themselves. There would be lots to drink from soda pop, sparking water, and a variety of craft beers. They would have as many as forty people at their place that would drift between the backyard to the living room, and even hanging around the kitchen. The couple would even place a smaller set in their bathroom where anyone could still watch the game and/or commercials while “doing their duty”.

And the most ironic thing about this party, although the house husband tends to view a game or two during the regular season, this couple doesn’t care much for football! They are more of baseball fans and make a bigger deal about that sport.

This is especially true when the local team enters the playoffs and go into the World Series. That what happened last fall.  As you can guess, this couple lives in the Los Angeles, California region. If they lived in, let’s say, Chicago, having a BBQ outdoors may be a bit of a problem since it’s usually cold out there, but you get the idea!

For this year, this couple didn’t host a party. If they did have some event, it was rather toned down. There was no lavish spread, no massive collection of ice-filled metal tubs loaded with bottles and cans of cold beverages, and no BBQ. If they did anything on that early evening, they watched the game on their own. In other words, it was just another routine and perhaps dull way to wind down a weekend as one would do on a “school night”!

PS..the couple, both in their 70’s, have been retired for some time, so there was no workday to prepare for, unless a work day for them consists of performing a lot of busy work just to keep them occupied!

It’s assumed that many other folks toned down their gatherings as well. Many of these people that attended a party the previous year are in a different frame of mind. They have have experienced a hardship of some matter, from job loss to somebody they may know or know of who caught the virus and may have even perished from it. They have seen and felt changes in work, school, and socializing.

They may have been involved in some sort of political based routine that may have been popular with others or not. It’s a whole new attitude that may be around for a while, or may exist for good!

But there is a silver lining to this all. Many of these changes are what people needed, but just didn’t know how to pull it off. They because grateful in what they have, and learned to make do with it. They set themselves into a new(er) beginning and plan to take that new beginning (or in some parlance, a second chapter), and to live for it all in the name of a better way of life.

So as the big game settles for another chapter in the history books, it’s the time to get one’s self back in gear. But yes, the parties will return. People will gather to root, root, root for the home team, and will know that they are there to serve a purpose. And as Al Jolson once stated “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
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