Super Bowl Sunday

The girls celebrating Super Bowl Sunday, 2012.

My favorite holiday may be the most obscure one on the calendar, but a close second has to be Super Bowl Sunday. The government may not recognize it, but it’s a national holiday. The whole country shuts down for this one day, and millions of people are drawn to their televisions to watch one game, one block of commercials, one halftime show. There’s nothing that can bring people together like the Super Bowl.

We don’t all watch the World Series, we don’t all watch the Winter Classic, we don’t all watch the NBA Finals. But every American, from all walks of life, watches the Super Bowl. It’s a fascinating thing. You don’t have to be a fan, your team doesn’t have to be playing, and yet the whole country is fixed to the tube.

I was no different. My friends and I gathered at one cramped apartment armed with our contribution to the potluck. Only one of us had a stake in the game as a Giants fan, and yet we all enjoyed the atmosphere of the day. Unanimously, the favorite commercial of the evening was the M&M’s “naked chocolate” one, and Madonna’s halftime show turned into the Sarah-karaoke-show, as we all enjoyed Madonna’s classic songs and age-defying performance. When we looked up on Wikipedia afterwards that she was 54, everyone was stunned. Nine pizza pies, six bags of chips, two packs of cookies, twelve liters of soda, one dish of buffalo chicken dip, and countless laughs later, the Giants were crowned champions. As an Eagles fan, it was a Catch-22. The Giants, our division rivals, kicked us out of the playoffs earlier in the season, but the Pats beat us in the Super Bowl all those years ago. So we kicked back, hung with friends, took in a solid, close football game, and simply enjoyed the day. There was screaming, yelling, smiles, laughter, and the walk home may have included a spontaneous E-A-G-L-E-S chant. But it was great. Tonight was about more than the pigskin.

I watch the World Series. I watch the Winter Classic. I watch the NBA Finals. But watching the Super Bowl is an entirely different camaraderie, an entirely different collective experience. Sports gathers people together, I fervently believe that. But the Super Bowl transcends sport and is an integral part of American culture.

I wouldn’t show my friends from England a baseball game or teach them about Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t take them to a barbecue or wander the streets of New York. I would bring them to a Super Bowl party and show them one of the most unifying elements of our culture.

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a national holiday. It was finally Super Bowl Sunday.

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