We waited all through the weekend for the Super Bowl. My wife, Joan was well-enough backgrounded to have an interest in the game, and I remained fully aware that the two teams participating — New England and Los Angeles Rams — were not my choices to reach the climactic game, and also that often when you build up lofty expectations about the game you wind up disappointed.
It was an amazing weekend, with Duluth East, Denfeld, Marshall, Hermantown, and Cloquet-Esko Carlton all having hockey games, but every one of them on the road.
We didn’t have any plans for the game, no party or dinner or anything. Joan outdid herself though, preparing a virtual feast with barbecued chicken wings, an array of cheeses and crackers, and assorted other specialties that would make it and enjoyable night.
Joan enjoyed it. I didn’t eat any of it — not a bite. And I like wings.
I stretched out on the couch and I battled sleepiness. With Joan watching quite intently, I couldn’t turn it off, even though it seemed as though the two teams were locked in a display of combat deadlocked for about four hours at 3-3.
Three to three? This is the league that boasted all year about how it set scoring records. But when the spotlight was shining the brightest, the offenses let down and the defenses dominated. At least I think they did. I found myself trapped in indifference, not really caring who scored, just so somebody did. It finally was the New England Patriots who scored, and then put the game away.
I was guilty of criticizing the Patriots all season. I didn’t think they had the charisma, the force, and the outright talent to stay atop the NFL. I thought Kansas City had a stronger team, but they didn’t win when it was on the line. I thought the National Conference was much stronger than the American, with the Bears, the Saints, the Seahawks, and the Rams all looking capable of overrunning whoever they faced in the Super Bowl.
Turns out, nobody was capable of running away from anybody on Super Bowl Sunday. At halftime, Joan brought out her array of goodies, great chips, guacamole, chili, and those great looking wings. “Come and eat,” she said.
I couldn’t. In fact, I couldn’t move off the couch. It certainly wasn’t because of the riveting nature of the game. It was, in a word, dull.
The game ended early enough that we might have still done something. Anything.
Joan got a little worried at the absence of my usually ravenous appetite. I drank a small can of ginger ale, and two cups of tea, and that was it. Back to the couch. Until 8 p.m. when Joan went downstairs for a little workout, and I climbed the stairs and got into bed. I haven’t gone to sleep at 8 p.m. forever. But I was out like a light. My older son, Jack, called me and his distinctive ring — very accurate depiction of a dog barking — left no doubt who was calling. The phone was on my bedstand, and I grappled for it before finally figuring out how to turn it on.
We had a very weird conversation, because I was in the middle of one of those deep-sleep routines. I must have made no sense of his first several statements, because he certainly couldn’t make sense out of anything I said. I glanced at the clock and it said 10, so I immediately thought it must be 10 a.m. Wrong. It was only 10 p.m.
I went back to sleep, soundly, except for about a dozen times I had to answer nature’s call and dash to the bathroom. Otherwise, I slept soundly until 8 a.m. — a solid 12-hour block of sleep. I got up and stumbled downstairs and tried to be cordial to Joan, but I felt awful. Joan, who is brilliant at her chosen profession of physical therapy, did a whole bunch of research on line and had several worthwhile ideas for me to try.
Nothing made me feel better. I had to scratch my plan to drive to Cloquet for the second half of the legendary East-Cloquet hockey battle. I think that’s when Joan knew I was seriously struggling. I had lost 5 pounds that day, snd Joan made an appointment for me to visit my doctor. I did that, and his tests disclosed a nasty infection leading me to get a major-league shot of antibiotics, and a prescription for more antibiotics.
I had planned to write about the Super Bowl no matter what happened Sunday. My problem is that I hadn’t prepared a fall-back plan. But after all, how bad could the game be?
It just goes to show you that all these years, I always figured a bad football game leads to channel clicking to change. But this time it was as if the whole sports world was coordinated to ruin a perfectly good Sunday in February. And it’s the first Super Bowl Sunday where I can claim the Super Bowl made me sick.