Column: How to watch Sunday's game at GV
Super Bowl Sunday, like Denny's, is an American institution, and is revered as a national holiday even though the bureaucrats haven't gotten around to making it official yet (THANKS, OBAMA!). It's not just for living, burping beer-guzzling Homer Simpsons to celebrate, either, although their demographic is welcome as long as they bring a dish/can to pass.
Sure, you probably won't get class off on Monday morning, but the Super Bowl – more-so than any other production on television – is designed for the masses. AND THAT MEANS YOU! You, Grand Valley State University student age 17 to 20-whatever. Male, female, short, tall, rich, poor, young, old, athletes, couch potatoes, sports fans, sports haters, sportos, motorheads, geeks, wastoids, dweebies, etc. etc. – everyone's invited. Hell, you're more than invited; you're implored.
Watching the Super Bowl is your civic duty/right as an American nestled in perceived value somewhere between voting and writing your congressman. Don't believe me? Go ahead and name one thing more American than consuming in excess for hours on end with family and friends around a football game complete with a fly-over, cheerleaders, pyrotechnics, pop music, Tom Brady in Ugg cleats, Katy Perry in a crop top, crowd shots of beefy, crazed 40-year old man-children glazed in body paint cheering their clogged hearts out and the best advertisements lots and lots of money can buy? I'll wait.
The point is, you can't miss it and most of you won't even if your heartless, callous professor assigns you a book report over the weekend. Although the decorum observed by the general public on this sacred of all Sundays cannot always be met in practice by Joe & Josephine college student. Don't worry – as a seasoned veteran of broke, time-crunched, under-resourced and overstressed Super Bowls past, I'm here to lend my services.
Step 1: Location, location, location
And I'm not talking real estate. If your bag is going home every weekend and you have the means, by all means pop a squat between mom and dad in your favorite Lazy Boy chair and take it all in. Otherwise, start scouting. And when you start scouting, start with the TV. In today's age of phones that can tie your shoes, the 19-inch RCA just doesn't cut it anymore, and believe me when I tell you that you can do better. If you can't, find someone who can.
A dorm will suffice in a pinch, but a room in Robinson already stuffed with a pair of lofted beds and bureaus is less than ideal for the claustrophobic. Try the common room, or instead take the show off campus; Peppino’s, Main Street Pub and a friend's pad are all viable options.
Once you've located the spot, find your spot. Buffalo Bill made sure to always sit with his back to the wall during poker games (except that once) for a reason, and for best results, you need to follow his lead. Make sure you have a view of the action – whatever particular action interests you most – and remember to plan for the long haul. Comfort is key, and you'll want easy access to the grub.
Which naturally brings us to step two.
Step 2: Food
Halloween without candy, Thanksgiving without turkey and Christmas without cookies. Can you imagine? We wouldn't stand for that bunk, and you shouldn't with your Super Bowl.
You ants out there that have carefully rationed your debit dollars for the semester, well done! Cut loose with a three-meat special from Papa John's tossed by Peyton Manning himself and all the junk food you can carry in the hem of your folded up Laker hoody from the C-store and never look back. Your stomach might not be your buddy by halftime, but all of the people you shared with will be.
For all the grasshoppers that blew their food budget early, never fear, but start collecting cans, shining shoes, panhandling and writing letters to grandma ASAP. Dealer’s choice, but do what you need to do within the law and measures of human decency to accrue some funds. No five-finger discounts.
Once you are able to open your wallet without welling up inside, bum a ride up to Family Fare and frugally purchase supplies. Load the cart with off-brand chips, pop, Kool-Aid, other beverages (if you're of age), frozen pizza and be sure to talk your pal / roommate / bestie 4 ever into throwing in. Invite that kid down the hall and your next-door neighbor you've never met before in person that plays music way too loud, but seems nice, to join in. Many hands make light work (and affordable food).
Step 3: Pick a team
If you're a Detroit Lions fan as I am, well I hate to break it to you but we backed the wrong horse. At least there's next year, right (and there has been since 1957)? That doesn't mean we – and the fans of the 30 other teams gone fishing – can't play along.
Break out your old Tom Brady jersey or the Russell Wilson number Santa brought you for Christmas if you must. Just know even if you were a New England Patriot or Seattle Seahawk aficionado before, we won't believe you. Not into football? No sweat. Rooting interests have been determined by far less than which team has the best colors or cutest quarterback before.
Once you've aligned yourself, start gambling. The ever-popular squares will float around, but the real action is in the prop bets. How many times will deflated footballs be discussed (if it's anything under 50.5 times, go with the over)? What color of Gatorade will be dumped over a grimacing Bill Belichick or a grinning Pete Carroll (I'm partial to Purple myself)?
Then talk mad smack all night. Make bold proclamations about how if you were coach, the game would be won by now. Critique the outfits and choreography selections of the halftime backup dancers. Pick your favorite commercial, and explain to your friends why it was the best. If they're not agreeable, make sure to regal them with the punchline that they watched with you. Discuss the socioeconomic and moral merits of buying into a billion dollar event that emphasizes violence, sexualizes women and glorifies winning at all costs.
Grit your teeth at the tropes repeated by talking heads on a loop, relish YouTube compilations of Marshawn Lynch interviews, play catch before the festivities get underway, forget about your studies and worries for a few hours and, more than anything else, enjoy.
America isn't perfect, and neither is the Super Bowl that encapsulates our nation in a microcosm, but the great thing about both is that they're free to be savored in most anyway that you would choose to savor them. Even if that means watching the game on a cracked TV your older brother passed down to you while eating a cherry Pop-tart you found under your mattress and catching up on your homework as the sun sets behind Lubbers Stadium.