Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Memories

I'm not really that big a football fan. The sporting highlight of my Sunday today was watching Alex Ovechkin get a hat trick as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime this afternoon to extend their winning streak to 14 games.

Of course, I'll have the game on tonight, but really just to watch the commercials.

I do, however, have a couple of fun Super Bowl memories from years gone by.

When I left for basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama in January 1988, the Washington Redskins were headed to the Super Bowl. As it happened my senior drill sergeant was from Maryland, and was a 'Skins fan in those days before there was ever a Baltimore Ravens. It also happened that he had duty the night of the game. That meant that he'd be the sole drill sergeant there at the company overnight.

The drill sergeants generally were a little easier on us on Sundays, and since he was in a charitable mood to begin with, he rolled the TV outside on a cart and we all sat outside on the cold concrete of the company formation area to watch the game. His mood was further enhanced by a 42-10 victory by Washington. It was cold and uncomfortable out there, but we got to watch the game despite being in basic training.

Further evidence that the Super Bowl is bigger than sliced bread, had the Soviet Union ever wanted to truly invade western Europe, all they needed to do was wait for Super Bowl Sunday. In Germany, it was customary for the Commanding General of USAREUR (US Army Europe) to declare a "training holiday" for the day after the Super Bowl. That way the troops could stay up all night for the game and sleep it off a bit, not having to come in to work till 12 noon Monday.

So we took advantage, going over to my assistant squad leader's house to watch the festivities. Joe Clipp lived off base in the village of Eislingen, and he had German cable TV. That meant that we'd have a crystal clear picture, but the commentary would be in German....where we lived, the TV feed from Armed Forces Network was fuzzy so it was preferable to watch the German feed. We put the radio on AFN's FM feed and listened to the American commentators instead.

Being six hours ahead, the kickoff was at midnight our time and the game lasted till 4AM. That gave us 8 hours to sleep it off and show up for a 4-hour workday. Nearly a million troops in Europe at that time, and 99% of us were half in the bag watching a football game.

What Reagan should have said was "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall, but wait till after the game"


Soloman said...

As a Broncos fan, I am not a fan of that game you mentioned.

My favorite Super Bowl memory is John Elway of the Denver Broncos diving for a first down against the Green Bay Packers, as seen in this clip.

Ultimate desire shown by a consummate professional at the most crucial time of a game. He had lost in three previous visits to the big show, and he was not about to be denied again.

j summ said...

you know you loved watching me and jack heckle each other during viqueen-lions games.

Opus #6 said...

I would think that football would be just the type of applied inactivity that would appeal to you. ;-)

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

@Soloman: Dude, to even MAKE it to that many Super Bowls, there's no denying the talent & ability of Elway and those Bronco teams.

@ Opie: 4 hours of time for 11 minutes of action certainly qualifies for inactivity. Then throw in a six hour pre-game....that's why I love hockey. Lots more action to follow.

@J: My God...some of those Sundays at Fort Riley were epic. Jack Harpel was the ultimate Vikes fan, and always singing that doofy song of his about them being the best team in football....if it wasn't you & him going at it when they played Detroit, it was him & Kevin Stevens over the Bears.

Krystal said...

I love hearing military stories like those!

My favorite Super Bowl would be XXXI.

I had HATED football all my life when I looked up from the dishes I was doing to see the Lambeau Leap for the first time (this was when all the Cowboys were whining that their fans wanted to touch them and was asking for security to keep them away).

I asked my husband what was going on. He explained to me that "this team" celebrated with their fans after touchdowns.

I said, "That's my team! Who are they? Are they any good?" This was like game #2 of season. I became a die hard Packers fan. I was pregnant and made myself a hideous maternity dress out of gawdy Packer fabric I found in the store. It was *MY* first Superbowl ... and we won!

There's nothing like your first time being oh so good!

WomanHonorThyself said...

ah great quote at the end!:)

Brooke said...

Well, I'm an abused Bengals fan, so the season is usually over pretty early for me. ;)

Jack said...

It's a little late, but...... "Minnesota Vikings best team in football, they will go to victory and your team will fall!"