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.