It was a pretty good game.
The super bowl was never really a priority for me.
To be honest, I was always more into the commercials.
But ever since last year when I saw my dad fall out of his chair as the Giants took it home, I make an exception for the Super Bowl in my football abstention.
My hatred for football, like most of my hatreds, is rooted in high school. As a “nerd” or “geek” or whatever you call the nerd/geek without a nerd/geek crowd (in addition to being self-loathing, we were inter-loathing to boot), I was, by my mere existence, anathema to the football players. Not that they were necessarily bad guys. Some like Francis Florio, or “Cheech”, as he went by, were good average guys who just wanted to be friends with everyone and found themselves in a crowd. But others to me became symbols–the consequence of reading too many books as a youngster and talking to enough people. These football players were anti-intellectuals, lunkheads, the sort of people who through their physical monstrosity revealed my own inadequacies while overshadowing or making irrelevant my strengths.
The one exception to this was the brief period of time before high school when I became the manager of the 8th grade football team. It felt intoxicating back then to be a part of something, to travel with the team to speak to the mothers and the players. I felt comfortably wedged between my peers and older people, swinging towards the elders, a position I would often seek out in the future. It was my father finally who disuaded me from that life.
“You might think you’re part of the team,” He told me. “But you’ll never be part of the team if you’re the manager.”
“You’ll just be the manager.”
So I hung up my towel and my books and my seat on the away bus and resumed hating football, the game and the players.
The Super Bowl though was fun. There was a natural drama to the game which I appreciated and it was as much about the crowd I was with as the sport itself. I was sitting with my father, his high-school buddy and a mentor of mine, Howard, my mother and the only person really into football in my life: Pete of the weekly workout.
It was a fun time and I found myself ok as I left. But I just couldn’t shake it.
We walked out, Pete and I, from my parents out, bellys full of turkey lasagna, apple pie and organic vanilla gelato, courtesy of my mother, and we headed over to check out a band Pete knew.
The previous night I had gone with him to Sullivan Hall, a venue round where he lives, and had the awkward experience of standing at a venue listening to music I didn’t like. In this sort of situation, it’s hard to find a balance and though Pete was valiant, I quickly passed from not drunk enough to enjoy the music to too drunk to stand. By the time other friends showed up, I was ready to stumble home.
This night though had some of the proper precursors for musical enjoyment: Pete not only knew the lead singer of the band, but had played me their music before: a sort of whiny, post-indie college-bop about 5-dollar-whiskeys–the sort of lame-o music I like.
The band was called The Motorcycle Industry and we only got a few songs in as we came late. Still, it felt nice to hear a song called “We Can’t All Be From Long Island” instead of the angry pseudo-punk I had endured the previous evening.
I was doing well.
But that, that I was doing well, kept hitting me–that I was doing well in contrast to how perhaps I should be feeling.
Because even though the Super Bowl was pretty good, I wanted to hurt someone tonight.
My sister was home for the Super Bowl–something I hadn’t anticipated. I saw my dad slip her some money when she started making a ruckus. I tried to ignore it but when I saw her taking a plate of my mom’s food downstairs I knew I was lost.
“Is he downstairs?” I asked my father.
My father could only manage a weak yes as he watched the game.
When we were done with dinner, my mother had baked apple pie, but we didn’t have any Vanilla Ice Cream.
“I’ll go get it.” My mother said.
“No, I’ll go get it.” I replied.
“You shouldn’t make your mother go get ice cream.” My father told me aptly.
I turned to leave.
“Pete.” I turned back. “Wanna come?”
I felt like I was cheating going downstairs with Pete. Pete’s 6′ 3″, built. I felt like a coward going down there with him. I should be man enough to face him myself, not face him, what was I going to do? Huh? HUH?
“Hi.” the boyfriend said. As we passed by him to go get Ice Cream.
“Hi Nick.” He said as we went back.
The rest of the night until I left my parents would retreat to the back room alternately to “deal with it”.
But it’s funny how you can’t explain rage.
Actually, it’s not funny.
A lot of things in my life are funny.
I make them that way or they are.
But this just isn’t.
And it burns with me as I walk and walk home.
EDIT: Because I couldn’t help it. One word: