Super Bowl Parties (amended)

Well, this one’s even more self-indulgent and obtuse than most — not to mention about a month and a half late to attract clicks on such a topic — but here we go:

Jan 1999: Denver over Atlanta: Yes, the Super Bowl was still held in January at the tail end of the 20th century, and the first party is a low-key affair dominated by aliens (on F1 and H1-b visas). The venue was the nicest of my apartments in DC, on Kalorama Road, between 18th and Columbia.

Jan 2000: St. Louis over Tennessee: I recall the dramatic end to this game, but little else. I am assuming this too was a Euro-driven party, probably up on Adams Mill road, across the street from the soon to be discovered love den of Gary Condit. This may have been the infamous Billy: “I’m sorry I can’t throw $2 into the pot because of the tax implications” party, proving that even one American guest, at times, can be too many.

Jan 2001: Baltimore over New York: The ennui was thick this day, as the crowd grew restless with a game that can only be described as listless. Jung-gon showing up unannounced with four pizzas at halftime was certainly memorable, as was Asmund’s silent protest with the Washington Post. Also on Adams Mill.

Feb 2002: New England over St. Louis: 9/11 and the resulting lost week of play moves the Super Bowl to February, an abomination that the NFL has thrust on us ever since. It was a rowdy, even contentious evening, with Bono’s preening and Bush-bashing prevalent in what was probably the last party where the Euros held a majority. Highlights include Sonia’s lemon of a boyfriend and the French spy who showed up with Joachim. The lowlights were Asmund leaving in a huff at halftime (see Bush, above) and Na-Yeon considering divorce as Thad danced hysterically in the street. The venue was yet another apartment in Adams Morgan, just southeast of the Calvert bridge.

Feb 2003: Tampa Bay over Oakland: If our Super Bowl party was going to die, it was following this year’s event, which was only memorable for the sparse crowd and dried fish-related snack that Jung-gon brought. The first party outside Adams Morgan, in the apartment complex across from the National Zoo in Woodley Park.

Feb 2004: New England over Carolina: Having just moved back to Adams Morgan the previous day, I was in no position to host a party. Even more critically, the starters had completed their migration back to Europe and to the far east at this point, so it would have been just Thad and me anyway. Too bad, because the wardrobe malfunction at halftime would have been fun to dissect. Dark.

Feb 2005: New England over Philadelphia: The start of the halcyon period of the Super Bowl parties, with three in a row beginning on this date at my apartment on 18th Street in the heart of Adams Morgan. Knitting was prominent this year, but it certainly did not dampen the festive mood, and with the JV beginning to take form, proof of life post SAIS existed after all.

Feb 2006: Pittsburgh over Seattle: Another great night, as we somehow pulled the party off just as I returned from London the afternoon before. The JV was now a crew, and it was in fine form, although fissures bubbled under the surface.

Feb 2007: Indianapolis over Chicago: Similar to the previous year, but notable for Buster taking on the brunt of the mini hot dogs with Thad in self-imposed exile out in Hawaii. Our iPod challenge, I believe, emerged this year, and elements of the old SAIS-crowd came down from New York for one last goodbye.

Feb 2008: New York over New England: The party moves to Arlington and with it we say goodbye to the last vestiges of the original event (ie. Vace pizza, apple strudel, the 13 inch TV, rabbit ears, and the aforementioned mini hot dogs.) Attendance is low, not least because of Grace’s entry into the world two days prior. Probably the only party where the game was actually at the forefront. But the tension on the field was, in fact, matched by political strife among the partygoers, with the Democratic primary process tearing the crew apart. The evening’s highlight, aside from Eli’s heroics, certainly was Thad’s comment regarding Hillary’s innards.

Feb 2009: Pittsburgh over Arizona: Mila and I come down from New York for this year’s party, held in the glorious Petworth neighborhood of Washington. The vibe of the party is about to  change for good; this probably marks the last full-game event, as children begin taking a more prominent place in the lives of the crew. In addition, I believe we say goodbye to the Gonzales clan on this day, as they embark on their return to Texas. Still, I recall a very exciting game, some mucking around with 3D glasses, and a two-stage parlay with Grace’s birthday being held on Gales street earlier in the day.

Feb 2010: New Orleans over Indianapolis: Snowmaggedon makes a planned revival off Columbia Pike in Arlington a non-event. Dark.

Feb 2011: Green Bay over Pittsburgh: The party moves to Crystal City, and it’s a raucous affair, with the kids dominating the playroom and amping up the volume. Lots of prop betting, including a very intense inspection of the Christina Aguilera national anthem. Still, the crew somehow misses the only thing anyone’s talking about the next day — the fact that she flubbed a line. The start of the post halftime show exodus.

Feb 2012: New York over New England: Similar to the year before, with the kids and halftime show dominant. I do recall a small, but intense, crowd sticking around for the second half and reveling in Eli’s second triumph.

Feb 2013: Baltimore over San Francisco: The party moves to Bethesda, and it remains a one half affair. The 30 minute power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans certainly doesn’t help matters.

Feb 2014: Seattle over Denver: Back in Crystal City with, perhaps, the most noteworthy moment being Bruno Mars’s coming out.

Feb 2015: New England over Seattle: A replay in Bethesda, albeit without a power outage. I did make it home in time to witness (and scare Emilia by screeching in horror) Seattle giving the game away in the final seconds, a reminder that, despite all its faults, a professional football game, as a spectator sport, can elicit drama that is difficult for the other sports to match.

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