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"