I think the last time I watched a full football game was back in high school — more years ago than I care to admit. I realized I would have to brush up on my game when I got — and gleefully accepted — a personal invite to a Super Bowl LIII Party at the Mill Street Brewery in Ottawa. Clearly I would have to brush up on my Roman numerals as well (in case you’re also a tad rusty, it was Super Bowl 53).
Way back when, as a teenager and proud cheerleader for the Sir James Dunn Eagles, I had learned the rules for all high school sports. No need to embarrass yourself screaming “push ’em back, push ’em back, waaaay back!” when your team is on the offense. Or shaking your pom-poms when the opposing team is lining up to kick a field goal. But … I have to admit … other than knowing the name Tom Brady (even non-football fans recognize that guy! Do I get bonus points for knowing he’s a quarterback?) and having a rudimentary understanding of the historic roots of the team name, I knew nothing about the New England Patriots. Or the Los Angeles Rams for that matter.
I’ll admit my “Absolutely love to attend!” RSVP was mostly motivated by thoughts of hanging out with some of my favourite people in the world, sipping some Mill Street seasonals, and enjoying the ambience of the old stone building that sits on the bank of the Ottawa River. But this was a once-a-year big deal in the sports world, so I felt compelled to do my homework. In less time than it takes to snap the ball, I had learned that Jared Goff was the Los Angeles Ram’s quarterback. And that some fans were lining up to support his team simply because they didn’t want to see Brady win. Again. Having lived with sports fans I knew the game would be far more interesting if I at least pretended to have a cheering interest, and since I tend to root for the underdog, the Rams it would be.
As we arrived that afternoon the snow was starting to swirl, adding to the charm of the beautiful old grist mill building. As I took in the picturesque winter scene, appreciating the clean lines of the classic Victorian industrial architecture, it occurred to me that it was a style you might run across in New England. I’m not usually superstitious, but I did wonder if that was an omen. Had I picked the wrong team to cheer for?
Once the game started I did follow the play, and managed to cheer and boo at the right times. But I have to admit, the best cheering I did all night was when I raised my glass to toast our hosts. Maybe … if I’d tried a little harder … the Rams could have completed that pass. Or at least made the game a little more exciting. The Patriots literally ran away with the ball … and the game.
But what the heck. I had a mug full of Vanilla Porter and some amazing food. I had access to a few specialty beers that are only served in the Ottawa brewpub. I was sitting in a charming historic building surrounded by family and friends. For me, a Super Bowl party — or any party — doesn’t get much better than that!