I have mentioned before about my Superbowl parties. I’ve been hosting them for DECADES. It started over 25 years ago. My father had entered a “Win a Superbowl Party” one night when he picked up his Chicken Holiday dinner. To his great surprise he won the contest. There he was with I don’t remember how much fried chicken and other fried items, pounds and pounds of coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad. He gave it all to me and said “Have a party.” Oooookay, my daddy wants me to throw a party, I’ll throw a party.
That year it was small. The 8 family members (including my pre-school aged son and elementary school niece) and 2 friends from across the street. The next year as all of the hoopla began about the Superbowl my niece said to me “When is your party, Aunt Ahuva? You always have a party.” My niece is very very good at saying to me after one occasion “you ALWAYS do x”. And then I find myself doing X. 🙂
The party has grown to be a big event. We fly our son home for the weekend. We move the furniture out of the living room, piling it either in the driveway or on the front porch if the weather is bad. We set up folding chairs. I’ve bought a TV strictly for the party AND had my brother-in-law build a stand just for that TV. Both the TV and the stand spend the rest of the year in the basement. We (my husband, brother-in-law and I ) make a LOT of food. All the guests bring food and drink as well. By the time everyone has arrived you can no longer see the dining room table. Hot drinks and desserts are in the breakfast room, where we also have a second TV going (heaven forbid you miss a commercial when you go to that room). Out on the deck, just outside the door, we set up the cold drinks and the desserts that need to be kept cold. Paper goods and plasticware are arranged around the dining room. There are hot chafing dishes set up on the sideboard in the dining room as well.
Very few of the 40-some people who come to the party actually care about the game. 🙂 Oh, many of us do like to watch football games, but we have a core of NY Giants fans. Enough said, right? If I recall the loyalties properly, others have had better fortune: Patriots, Steelers, Cubs. For most people it’s about the food, the friends, the commercials and the boxes.
We set up a grid, 10×10, or really 11×11. We write one team across the top and another down the side. We block out the 11th row & column. People ‘buy’ a box for $1 box, writing their names into the grid. Someone acts as banker, collecting the $s and then handling the payout.
Once all the boxes have a name, we remove the blocking from the 11th row & column. We begin to pull numbers out of a hat, 0-9. As we pull a number we write it into the next box on the 11th row, then do the same down the 11th column – picking from a DIFFERENT hat with the folded up pieces of paper, bearing the crucial numbers. From that point on the score becomes personally relevant. We start at 0-0 and pay out $1 a score change. When the score changes, we find the intersection of the last 2 digits of the scores. We pay $10 at the end of the first quarter, $15 at the half, $10 for Q3, and the remaining pot at the end of the game. 🙂
The last time we had the full blow-out was February 2020, just before the pandemic. Last year I was completely bummed – no party. My friend Pam did convince me to put together a Zoom event. It was okay, much better than not doing anything, but it was a pale shadow of the true party. This year I knew that people were still not ready to come and exchange air inside the house. It doesn’t matter that everyone we would have invited has been vaccinated and boosted. Our emotional state had not caught up to the physical. I fled to Tempe, as you know, and I told my son that were were going to have a party even if it was just the 2 of us.
Before I even left I called the Thirsty Lion, a gastropub within walking distance (3077 W. Frye, Chandler, AZ) of the hotel. I told the lovely hostess on the phone, Joyce, that I wanted to reserve a table for 4 outside for the whole length of the game. 🙂 I asked my son to invite friends to join us. By the time I landed he’d found 4 others to join us, late-notice though it was. *laughing* He had to spend a lot of time explaining that it was NOT about the game. In the meantime I decided we could STILL do the boxes if folks would play along. I texted my niece on Friday and asked if she would put together a digital grid. I emailed all of the party regulars explaining where and how the digital grid would work. I told them to trust me about the finances – I’d figure out how to pay out when the time came.
My niece made a fantastic grid. More folks played along than I had anticipated. I guess we are all missing the ‘real’ party. We also set up a group chat for everyone during the game but fewer played along there. We had AZ, NC, DE and CA in the group chat. 🙂 We tracked the scores and the grid and posted to the chat. 🙂 Meanwhile there at the Thirsty Lion we kept our waiter Jeffrey hopping bringing food and drink through the entire game. Jeffrey (unless of course it is Geoffrey) was one of the BEST EVER waiters. Good spirited, upbeat happy, joking with us all, fitting right in. We didn’t call him Jeffrey by the way. We called him Aaron Rodgers because he was wearing Rodgers’ jersey.
I had an absolutely fantastic time. I cannot thank our friends enough for joining in long distance and in person to have a party with me. I was ‘high’ from that joy well into the next day. I’m still smiling as I write this post. And as my son said – we didn’t have to clean up or move furniture!!! Maybe next year when we resume in person I should rent a large room at a restaurant. *grin*