Super Bowl 20

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I know, I know.  This year’s Super Bowl is number 48, not 20, but it is the number 20 that I am celebrating here in 2014.  It is where the official count stands of consecutive years that I have been watching this major American football event with my now 83 year-old grandparents.

They live just across the street from us, so I see them every week but there has always been something magnetic for us about Super Bowl night.  My grandmother, who prepares a smorgasbord of snacks that would rival the buffets of Golden Corral, is also the house statistician and virtual encyclopedia of certain players – she knows numbers and histories and stories of their faith and families.  She even saves certain newspaper articles about the event for us to read at commercial breaks!

My wife and daughters are also there for the entire event and have been for most all of these 20 years.  The tradition actually began in a funny way – my grandparents were always fond of buying magazines through the Publishers Clearinghouse campaign.  This allowed them to be entered into the Publishers Clearinghouse Giveway, which was normally an enormous some of money and a large bouquet of balloons that would be delivered to some unsuspecting family at home on live television during halftime of the Super Bowl.  For some reason, that was our pull – not really football or sports or teams or halftime superstars, but that one in a zillion chance that the balloon guy would show up outside their door.

Though there is no such event during the Super Bowl these days, we still relish the chance to get together and talk about our favorite commercials and holler over missed calls or bad calls or awesome interceptions – and turn the channel during halftime.

But somewhere, in the back of our minds, we can still imagine hearing the rush of balloons as some guy in a yellow sportcoat holding an oversize check makes his way to our front door.

‘What if…’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. The backstory can be found here. Enjoy!

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Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn…and bookstores, but he did not like to try new things. Here is his story:

Baby Frederico could feel his stomach begin to hurt and his cheeks turn a crimson red. He looked in the mirror one last time before he left for school. It was going to be a long day.

When he had awoken that morning everything was perfect, not a worry in the world…and then his brain began to think until it finally reminded him that this was the day that all of his friends were excited about – it was the day to try out for the big school play.

He had decided not to go to the audition, that it would be too scary and what if the teachers who were directing it didn’t pick him and what if the other kids laughed at him and what if he got a part and forgot his lines and what if he tripped and fell off the stage and and and….

He kept thinking…and then he had another thought. What if he did decide to go to the audition, that it would be fun and what if the teachers who were directing did pick him for a part, any part, and what if he remembered all of his lines and he never tripped and fell off the stage and and and…

He thought about football, his favorite sport, and what his Papá had told him when he had almost decided not to try out for the team (the same team he was now the captain of).

“Mi hijo,” said his papa in a very serious voice, “It is your choice to try or not. Just promise me that if you decide not to do it, it will not be because you are afraid. There are often good reasons for not doing something, but being afraid to try is not one of them.”

Baby Frederico had thought a lot about what his Papá said that day – don’t be afraid to do something good and never use fear to make a good decision.

It was settled. He would go and audition and see what happened. What if he could sing and dance and laugh and meet some new friends? What if he couldn’t? And what if he just tried?