The Super Bowl not as a sporting event but as a source of community. You can take this a bunch of different ways, but I was inspired by the Super Bowls of my childhood, where my dad made chicken wings, which I loved, and I read my book on the couch. If you’ve got fun stories to share about it as a cultural or personal moment, that was what I had in mind.
I enjoy sports, but I only really follow soccer. I’ll pay more attention to other sports during their playoff seasons, but I don’t ever get very invested. When it comes to American football, I won’t watch a single game of the NFL until the Super Bowl. Even then, if I see that it is the same old teams in the Super Bowl (ie: New England, Seattle, Kansas City, Tom Brady), I tend to even skip the Super Bowl game.
However, I love Super Bowl Sunday. For me, what makes this sports event worthwhile is the time spent in community with others. As a kid, my family would always watch the Super Bowl, never really invested in the game itself, while hosting or attending a Super Bowl party. I used to love making nachos in a baking sheet in the oven with all kinds of seasoning and toppings while also preparing root beer floats and all kinds of other snacks. I’d often get to hang out with my friends and their families, I’d play games, watch the commercials, and catch some of the halftime show. For me, it was never about the actual game on the tv, it was about enjoying an evening with friends and family and good food while hoping that school on Monday would get canceled.
But having lived all around the country across the years, every single Super Bowl Sunday has looked different for me. In Kentucky, it was often just me and my family staying home and making snacks and playing games. In California, I often went to a big outdoor party with my friends and socialized more. In Indiana, my church hosted a board game party during the Super Bowl with snacks and drinks. Last year, however, I was stuck on Eastern University’s campus with various COVID-19 safety policies preventing my regular Super Bowl traditions. But even last year people found ways to get together with friends and watch the game.
The societal and cultural significance of Super Bowl Sunday is immensely visible all across the nation. While something like the FIFA World Cup that takes place every four years is a world-wide sporting event that billions of people get emotionally and physically invested in, Super Bowl Sunday is one night where people simply come together around a sporting event to spend time together, eat food and play games; the majority of people who celebrate Super Bowl Sunday are not very invested in the game itself but simply have it as a unique opportunity to have fun with friends and family. This year, I’ll be spending my Super Bowl Sunday on rounds as a Resident Assistant in Eagle Hall, but I know even then I will be witnessing and participating in the annual sports event that is more than just a football game. Whatever Super Bowl Sunday has looked like for you in the past and whatever it looked like for you this year, I truly hope that you find joy and relaxation in time spent with friends, family, good food, a dope halftime show and blissful community.