There are several family traditions that I hope will never change, no matter the situation.
Turkey on Thanksgiving.
BBQ on the 4th of July.
Gambling on the Super Bowl.
I certainly realize that being unemployed should trump dipping into my savings account to guess whether or not a team is going to win the coin flip, but I have always been very disciplined in my gambling, NEVER betting more than I can afford to lose.
Of course, we have passed on those rules to my 12-year old, 10-year old and six-year old.
Child services, on line four.
My son, the middle of the three, is a HUGE sports fan, just like me.
Like me, he would watch any sport at any time.
I used to think that he really loved sports, but as my wife explained to clueless old me a few years ago, he just wanted to bond with me.
Looking back, I think that was probably true when he was younger, but now he is a REAL sports fan.
The last thing he does at night is check the scores.
The first thing he does in the morning is watch the highlights.
Well, Super Bowl Sunday is kind of a religious holiday in our parts.
Unfortunately, our team is never good enough to play in the big game, so we have to adopt a new team each year.
The best way to do that.... is to bet on them.
We don’t usually bet on a team to win. That would be boring.
We bet whether a running back will gain 50 1/2 yards or more.
Or the first team to call a timeout.
Or that a guy wearing an even numbered uniform will score the first touchdown of the game.
This year was no different.
In fact, when the Saints intercepted the ball and ran it back 74 yards for a touchdown with 3 minutes and 12 seconds left, we hit the trifecta.
The 3:12 was significant because my wife bet that there would be a score in the last 3:30 of the game.
The interception was significant because my son bet that there would be a defensive touchdown.
The 74 yards was significant because I bet that the Saints would have the longest touchdown.
If only my six-year old had bet heads instead of tails, it might’ve been a perfect day.
We spent the big day at the house of some friends from our kids’ school.
Not your typical, “Super Bowl Extravaganza”.
We ordered Pizza and watched the game.
Of course when the interception took place, you would’ve thought you were in a Vegas casino with all the screaming and yelling.
After all, we just won like $30.
It sure made the game a lot more fun to watch and the extra cash made the result a lot more exciting.
After the game, as we were preparing to leave, my wife noticed a series of photos of the kids’ mom and a very handsome young man.
The man was her brother.
Her late brother.
About 11 years ago, he was killed in an unsolved hit and run accident.
Because she was seven-months pregnant at the time, they would not let her read the police report about any details of the accident.
Not that it would’ve changed anything.
For the next 15 minutes, we learned about her sibling. His sense of humor. His warmth. His brotherly love.
For that 15 minutes, nothing else mattered.
Not the Super Bowl.
Not the interception.
Not my unemployment.
When you hear somebody describing the loss of someone as close as she was with her brother, it puts EVERYTHING back into perspective.
I lost my 75-year old father to a heart-attack and as sad as it was, and still is, he was very fortunate to live a full life.
Her 21-year old brother didn’t get that opportunity.
I never met him and unfortunately never will, but to see the pain on her face, 11 years later, after losing someone that meant so much to her, was absolutely heartbreaking.
It will be my lasting memory of Super Bowl 44.