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Accidental Adult: The worst house party of the year

As millions prepare to host or attend Super Bowl parties across the U.S., I’m reminded of a story I recently heard that suggested Europeans loathe watching important soccer matches in large groups. As my friend put it, “They’d rather stay at home to watch sports solitarily and really absorb what’s going on in the game.”

I’m not sure what European country he was referring to, but if that’s true, I think I’d like to move there.

Like most accidental adults, I have a hard time following the intricacies of a football game when in the company of moderate to large crowds. That’s why The Super Bowl House Party annoys me more than any other gathering all year long.

After five months of keeping up with my favorite team and the breakdowns from other teams around the league, the last thing I want to do during the definitive game of the season is to share the experience over the din of men’s shouting, women’s shrieking and children’s complaining — all while standing in a corner for four hours holding a soggy plate of bean dip and chips.

If you find yourself in this unenviable position, cue your smart-ass inner monologue survival skills to muddle through these inevitably unavoidable situations.

COMMERCIAL LOVER

Woman: “I guess I’m a bit unusual. I watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials!”
Outward response: “That’s really unique!”
Inner monologue: Yes, you and about every one of the other 150 million women in America!

She’s obviously out of her element here, which is a feeling any accidental adult can routinely relate to in most circumstances. So just punt. Ask her which commercial she liked best, and when she mentions the lame one that featured dancing animals, politely agree and be grateful she didn’t mention the nervous giggling she heard from the men at the keg during the erectile dysfunction ad. At least she’s not acting like some of the other women who suddenly became football’s biggest fans just today.

THE CLEVER CHEF

Host: “Won’t this be fun? We planned our menu around the Super Bowl city! Hope you like New Orleans–style Cajun cuisine!”
Outward response: “I always love to try new food!”
Inner monologue: Where the hell are my weiner winks?

Note to professional adults: Don’t get cute here. I have to pretend to enjoy your delightful goat cheese risotto and your battered eggplant appetizers at every other party you throw throughout the year. Today’s the day I get to sample chili, wings, pizza and nachos all on one big-ass sloppy plate.

THE EX-JOCK KNOW-IT-ALL
It’s no surprise that sports-themed parties bring out the wannabe coaches and the used-to-be players. Makes you want to say, “I get it, I get it. You played a little ball back in the day before you blew out your knee during the big game. Somehow, you’ve now become more qualified to call plays than that dumb-ass millionaire NFL coach.”

Recognize this?

Ex-jock know-it-all: “That quarterback is an idiot! Why is he throwing off his back foot into double coverage?”
Outward response: “I was about to say the same thing!”
Inner monologue: I like it when the quarterback throws the ball really far.

Guess what? I don’t want to hear you scream at the fifty-inch plasma calling for a split-back formation or the play-action pass. What will really impress me is if you chop block that meathead at the other end of the room who deserves a holding penalty for cornering victims and bragging about how his fantasy football team kicked ass this year.

Listening to your inner monologue might keep you company for only a few hours, but it should make one thing clear: This party doesn’t deserve an instant replay next year.

This post was written by Colin Sokolowski and originally published on Accidental Adult. Follow Colin on Facebook.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Barbara Kettering on 02/05/2011 - 01:20 pm.

    Great column, Colin. I also like it when the quarterback throws the ball really far. Go Pack!

  2. Submitted by Gregory Lang on 02/05/2011 - 02:52 pm.

    With soccer having periods that last something like 45 minutes without a break, commercial or instant replay you basically need to be watching it alone. The US TV sports format is far better suited to the “short attention span” that is more common today. The replays also provide conversation fodder in a group.

    In the Super Bowl, 95% of viewers are cheering an abstract because only two of the teams are playing (Go NFC!?). It’s different when your team is in the game.

    The Superbowl and other “commercial holidays” represent the last vestiges of “commonality” of experience in a world with many media options.

    The Superbowl parties are a way to reestablish contacts. For a long time I worked ten to twelve hour night shifts. People couldn’t fathom why I declined their midweek dinner invite. (messed up sleep for the rest of the week). At a Super Bowl party this can be straighted out.

    You can record the game and have half a year before the scheduled start of pre-season to watch and study the athletic nuances.

  3. Submitted by Steve Rose on 02/08/2011 - 10:04 pm.

    I may seem rude to some, but I am able to focus on the game in the midst of crowded party mayhem. I can chit-chat during commercials and protracted reception challenges. The half time show is a time to socialize. The only half time show I have enjoyed in the past ten years was when U2 performed.

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