February 11, 2008
At first, the plan had more to do with heading on down to Salt Lake City for a film or two rather than watching the pigskin bounce in real time on Super Bowl Sunday. But that was before the frontier between Highway 40 and the adjacent pastureland became blurred. Dinstictions disappeared. All was one – and it was very, very white.
On the external landscape, total disorientation ruled the day. You couldn’t tell up from down. Which, of course, for some of us, is business as usual. Total bafflement has always held this comforting quality. If there were only a way to remove the wind-chill factor, whiteouts wouldn’t get such a bad rap. Nestled somewhere within the often-shifting snowdrifts on the garage roof, the sattelite dish is hunkered down for the winter. An avalance beacon or GPS coordinates would have helped in the locating, but, alas, in lieu of recent technological assistance, a teetering wooden stepladder and a synthetically bristled broom were brought to bear.
Admittedly, there were quandaries aplenty with which to deal. First, of course, the personal humiliation involved with actually bearing witness as the New England Patriots completed their methodical deconstruction of the parity constituent in pro football. The fact of not being a fan of the NFL — or the horse it road in on — wasn’t much help either.
But, what was a guy to do? Certainly not abandon snuggness in favor of confronting the elements. They had chips on their shoulders and it wasn’t like they didn’t want you for lunch. An earlier foray out front to locate the Sunday paper had once again proved that discretion is the better part of valor.
Although somewhat less of an adventure than say Harding and Caldwell on a 27-day ascent of the "Dawn Wall" on El Capitan back in 1970, it was no stroll in the park. It wasn’t long before all components – the snow, the newspaper, and the quite humbled explorer – existed solely in the horizontal plane.
The conditions were "epic." The wind howled but there was no sound. First of all there was no room at the inn – the snow had left no spaces in the continuum within which vibrations could navigate their way to organs of hearing. Visions of St. Benards tossing back snifters of brandy in front of a fireplace danced in the head.
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So that was that! There would be no traveling down Parley’s Canyon to see Daniel Day Lewis covered in crude this weekend. There may well be blood, but it was going to have to wait. Unless, of course, it belonged to the underdog New York Football Giants – the sole remaining impediment to New England’s historic place atop the all-time heap.
Well, admittedly, the day would not lack totally in upsides. Linebacker Junior Seau, late of the San Diego Chargers and Southern Cal Trojans, would finally get his long-awaited Super Bowl ring — kind of an interesting twist on the Ray Bourque Stanley Cup of a few years back.
Not that it will be enjoyable looking on as Boston sports fans complete the second leg of their baseball-football-basketball championship trilogy. This year’s Red Sox have already pocketed the World Series title. That leaves only the shoe-in Patriots and the new-look Celtics to bring home their lobsters – and that will be that.
There is really no way of ignoring this game. Leaving town for a bit of top-shelf escapist fair had been the only option.
No, there is an inevitability surrounding this day. There will be no escape. There are "givens" at work here. The Patriots will not let this chance slip through their fingers. Tom Brady cold play in flip-flops and bring this bunch home with yet another championship ring.
And the Giants? How did they get by Dallas? And Green Bay? How could the Patriots’ road be any easier? Give the points and take Belichick’s boys! Size the rings! Print the headlines! No mystery here. No whodunit? The usual suspects will be sporting blue. They won’t be just going to Disneyland. They’re headed to the Pantheon.
And the rest of us? Well, we’ll be deflecting gloats. That’s another given. We’ll be busy taking envy to its next level. We’ll be expanding the parameters of denial. We’ll be playing "Choctaw Bingo" and wondering when our turn will come.
Where have you gone, Max McGee, the nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Whatever happened to Super Bowl MVPs who partied all night and took in sunrise at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go before grabbing a cab back to the Vince Lombardi curfew hotel a few hours prior to kickoff? Where have all the flowers gone?
I mean, whaddaya think? Is there one chance in a million that Archie Manning’s youngest son could achieve what his older brother did one year ago and win a Super Bowl? Is there one chance in a billion that he could throw a last second touchdown pass against the mighty Patriots and crush their dream of going undefeated?
Boy would that be a bitter pill for Bostonians to swallow. But it’s happened before to them and to the rest of us and we always seem to get over it. This one, however, may take a spell. But there’s always next year. And there’s always the Celtics. It’s gotta stop snowing some day.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and a free-lance writer with a background in commercial and community radio, among other pursuits. He has been a columnist and feature writer for various Park City publications going back to 1973.