Tonawanda News — Each event has a new hook to it, this February. The Super Bowl will be played, controversially, in whatever weather falls on New Jersey that day, an open-air, outdoor championship game in cold weather. Just like the ones they played before there was a Super Bowl.
Read the list of National or American Football League championships played prior to 1966; they were contested on the home field of one of the competing teams, which means they were overwhelmingly played in winter conditions in the Midwest or northeast. Chicago’s Wrigley Field figures prominently, and regularly, on the list. Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium is there as well, in 1964 (Buffalo 20, San Diego 7, attendance 40,242, one of whom was me).
The Winter Olympics will be held in a summer resort town with billions expended to turn it into a winter resort town. By Russians. A few miles away from a hotbed of terrorism. Some of whose residents have publicly announced their intent to disrupt the events. Choose your hook.
The Super Bowl has become our secular holiday, and I am not the first to note it. “Our” holiday, the way Independence Day is a day to show off our Americaness to the world (welcome, new citizen) but Inauguration Day is ours alone, with no invited guests from other countries. This game is all about us, hard-working, hard-fighting, beer-drinking, patriotic us, right down to the fighter planes roaring overhead. (If you see fighter planes at the Olympics in February, you’ll know there’s trouble.)
Certain homes will have Super Bowl parties, with invited guests who won’t care about the outcome of the game. In that manner it’s replaced traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners in splintered, busy homes. Secular holiday, indeed.
I’ve heard of Olympics parties in homes where figure skating is particularly admired, and if the Canadians and Americans play in hockey’s gold-medal round, expect a lot of impromptu gatherings in Western New York homes.