Last cookie in the tin

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The Super Bowl is always a bittersweet game

By Mike Forster

  The final ticks of the clock were flashed on our television screen.  The last spoonful of chili was long gone.  We watched as  the Lombardi Trophy was hoisted and some player declared he couldn’t wait to get himself to Disneyland (oh, right).

So ended another football season.

For me, the Super Bowl is always anticlimactic.  The game is just like that last Christmas cookie.  You know, the one that’s sitting all alone in the tin on top of the fridge.  

Even though the tree is long gone and presents long forgotten, the cookies endure.  That last one signals the end of something.  Its consumption brings finality, just as the Super Bowl does.

(Yes, I know there is still the Pro Bowl to be played.  That game, however, is the equivalent of that piece of fruitcake you find between the seat cushions, covered in dog hair.  Only the truly desperate will partake.)

Like that last cookie (the one in the tin, not in the couch), the Super Bowl is rarely that good.  The teams, like that cookie, most likely are not your favorites (heck, those were gone by New Years Day).

But it is still legitimate football, the last you’ll see until early September.

Maybe that’s the reason that so many people have Super Bowl parties.  Such get-togethers provide one last opportunity to celebrate the passing of something good.  In that regard, they are not unlike an Irish wake.

The people gathered at these affairs rarely watch the action on the field.

They are more interested in the halftime show, the funny commercials or the grub.

OK.  I’ll admit that I certainly showed some interest in the chow at our Super Bowl get-together.  I make no excuse for my affinity for chili, bratwursts and Buffalo Wings, among other delicacies.

I often wonder whether my queasiness the morning after the Super Bowl is due to the realization that football has ended, or from the spackle job I’ve done on my arteries at the buffet table.

I watched the big game in a state of melancholy.  What happened to this season?  How could it have passed so quickly?  How could I not have picked the Cardinals at the start of the year?  Will the wife discover that chili I dumped on the carpet?  How can I clean it up without getting caught?  Where’s that darn dog when I need him?

I get little solace from the ancillary activities.  At the risk of sounding grumpy, why is there a legion present at the coin flip?  Boss or no Boss, why is there a halftime concert?  And, if I were the one shelling out $3 mil to air my ad, it had best be Oscar-worthy.

In all, it is a bittersweet experience.

I’m not the first to make the observation that the period between the Super Bowl and the first game of the baseball season is the bleakest run on the sports calendar.

Yes, the arrival of March Madness does bring a spot of light.  But, the truth is, the day after the Super Bowl is bleak in its prospects.

In fact, the hours right after the Super Bowl are depressing.  Why do you think they air “all new” episodes of “Survivor” or “Dancing with the Stars” immediately after the game?  It’s to put a blast of novocaine straight into your brain.  

After our party, I walked  the dog, both of us suffering from the effects of too much chili.  I was overcome by that empty feeling; the one that comes from knowing that your life just got a whole lot more boring.

But, this year, I figured I’d extend the glow I’d known, despite the end of the football season.

When I got home from my walk, I stashed  a couple of leftover chicken wings.  

I put them in the tin that used to hold the cookies.

Super Bowl oddities

I hadn’t heard this bit of trivia, as of press-time (Tuesday, noon).

Interestingly (at least to me), both MLB and the NFL had upstarts in their title games this year (Rays and Cardinals).

It was the first appearance in championship play for each team.

Each is (and has the numbers to back it up) the weakest franchise in their sport, from an historical perspective.

The Rays call Tampa their home.  The Cards lost their Super Bowl at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.

Each lost in that championship game to a Pennsylvania team (Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Phillies).