Thereís a tradition in the Offutt household that stretches back to the year I was born. On Super Bowl Sunday, Dad made chili and the family sat down to watch the game.
Yeah, I know. This is the same tradition thatís been played out in households across America since 1967. Just let me have this. My family doesnít have many traditions apart from the Super Bowl, drinking beer and yelling at neighbors.
For me Super Bowl Sunday was special. It was the one day I ever saw my father cook anything that wasnít outside over a fire. It was like seeing a lumberjack cuddle a lamb.
After I grew up and had my own house and my own family, I too began to cook chili every Super Bowl Sunday and enjoy it heartily. Unfortunately, this stoic Offutt tradition never meant anything to anyone but me.
This was the first year in my house the entire family actually wanted to sit and watch the Super Bowl with me.
It turned out to be a tale of four Super Bowls:
Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of Mom
5:23 p.m.: Whenís the game going to start? (5:25.)
5:26: (Sits back and begins reading a book.)
6:30: (Eats chili.)
6:40: (Starts reading book again.)
Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of a 7-year-old girl
5:24 p.m.: Whenís this stupid game going to start?
5:30: Iím hungry. Whenís supper?
5:40: Which teams are playing?
5:44: I donít like the replays. Theyíre stupid.
5:48: (Time out.) Whereís the football game? I donít like these people talking. (Apparently expert game analysis is not her cup of tea.)
5:54: Talk, talk, talk. Blah, blah, blah. (Neither is color commentary.)
5:59: Which color are the Seagulls again?
6:04: Whatís for dinner. Donít you remember Iím hungry?
6:11: The Broncos are losing. They must be sad.
6:15: Whatís for dinner again? Chili? I donít like chili.
6:20: (Denver return man Trindon Holliday is buried by Seahawks during a kickoff return.) Oh, the players are raining down on him.
6:22: What if someone accidentally kissed during the game?
6:25: Iíve been in girlís soccer before (after a 91-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch).
6:28: (Asleep on the couch.)
Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of a 9-year-old boy
5:22 p.m.: Dad, who are you rooting for? (Broncos). OK. Me, too.
5:28: Oh, man.
5:36: No way.
5:52: Seahawks touchdown (jumping up and throwing hand in the air).
6:30: This chiliís good.
6:44: (Calls grandparents.) Hey, Grandpa, if youíre watching the game, I changed my favorite team to the Seahawks.
7:01: Denverís going to lose, arenít they, Dad?
7:02: Iím going to go play now.
7:30: Tell me who wins in the morning.
Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of Dad
5:25 p.m.: Why is everyone still talking? Donít they know thereís a game on?
Jason Offuttís latest book, ďAcross a Corn-Swept Land: An Epic Beer Run through the Upper Midwest,Ē is available at amazon.com.