My team is playing in the Super Bowl later today, and chances are that yours is not. From my perspective, this is a wonderful day, one that comes around only six or eight times in a lifetime if your team is very good, but also one fraught with perils beyond the possibility of a loss.
As any true sports fan knows, what we, the fans, wear has a direct impact on the outcome of the game. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have the word “jinx” in our language. Worse, jinxes are like ICBMs; it matters little that I sit in a rowhouse in Philadelphia, some 300 miles from where my team plays half its games each year, and about a thousand miles from where the Steelers will play this evening. If I wear the wrong supportive costume today, my team could lose. Super Bowl Sunday, in fact, may be the only day of the year that 90% of the male population of the U.S. actually gives any real thought to what to wear. Christmas Day? You have to wear the sweater your wife or daughter gave you. Thanksgiving Day? You wear the sweater given to you by one of the people you’re having dinner with. (No such gift? It’s moot.) The day of the big presentation at the office? No-brainer – your best suit, assuming there’s no Marinara sauce on it. The day that pretty girl will be visiting the office? A similar no-brainer – your most expensive sport coat and tie, assuming there’s mustard on neither.
Thus, I am faced with a triple-horned dilemma. Will it be the weathered Rod Woodson jersey since he was voted into the NFL Hall of Fame yesterday (boy, that really smells like good karma), the ancient, but very warm, team sweatshirt (it’s a bit warm here today; should that even be taken into consideration?), or perhaps, a white shirt and the Steelers tie (that seems a bit overdone, and besides, we’re having chili later)? This is definitely not as easy as simply not saying aloud something like, “You know, if the Steelers win, they automatically become the best NFL team ev….” (You probably thought I’d make a mistake there and finish typing that sentence, didn’t you? C’mon. That obvious jinx is like a rattling trash truck advancing down your street on squeaky brakes while you’re trying to sleep.)
Moreover, there is the interior decorating to worry about. One hundred percent of American men, minus those three guys who go to people’s homes to gasp at their appointments on TV, never think about interior decoration except on this day. Should the Steelers hat go onto the top of the TV for kickoff? If the team is losing at the half, should it be removed? Such questions make a fussy woman’s decision between dark blue and light blue curtains seem a perfectly sensible issue for discussion, which, of course, it’s not, so you can see how deep we’re in on this whole matter. Maybe I’ll just wear the hat because there are still holiday decorations on top of the TV. (Again, should that matter? Maybe the hat needs to be placed on top of Frosty’s head. No wait, he’s “cold.” Lord Buddha! As Col. Kurtz would say, “The horror. The horror. A cardinal just landed in the yard.”)
Must. Stop. Thinking. Trust gut instincts. “Just play it like any other game.”
If I don’t screw up.