Return of the (semi) sports nut
It’s Super Bowl time! This is the first time since I was 16 that I have been excited about it. It’s actually the first time in a long time I’ve gotten excited about sports in general. And I have two things to thank for it (or blame, depending who you ask). The first is the Jets returning to Winnipeg. I spent my formative years in Winnipeg and was there when they left for Phoenix, so their return automatically got me back into hockey. And with my teams being the Jets and the Maple Leafs, I’m sure to be disappointed for years to come.
The second and most important thing that got me back into sports was Sports Illustrated. All my life I wanted a subscription to Sports Illustrated. As a kid I asked for it every year for Christmas – and not just for the swimsuit edition or the football phone. I loved sports and while I didn’t have the athletic prowess to match my passion, I still loved to read and talk about it – stats, trades, games, you name it. Unfortunately my parents had a deeply rooted mistrust of offering their credit card number over the phone (perhaps based on some W5 story on credit card scams) so it was never meant to be. My dream of weekly sports news at my doorstep died with my other childhood dreams of playing pro basketball and driving Kit from Knight Rider. That was until the sports gods gave me another chance.
That chance came in the form of a magazine subscription fundraiser at my son’s school. My wife and I looked over the catalogue and when I saw that familiar “S I” all my childhood excitement came pouring back. My heart raced as I tried to casually say, “Maybe I’ll get Sports Illustrated.”
The four week wait to get my first issue was torture. I felt like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, checking the mail every day for his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring. When the day finally did come I read the book from over to cover – college football, hockey, tennis, golf – it didn’t matter, I sucked it up hungrily. And I did the same thing with every issue after that. I rediscovered my love for the NFL and NBA and started following teams again. I’ve started watching Sports Centre and reading sports stories online. I’ve followed the NFL playoffs with an interest that would make the 15-year-old me proud. I almost went as far as to buy an NBA jersey on a recent trip to the States. I was becoming a sports nut again. But more sports nut light. I don’t approach it with the same focused obsession that I did as a teenage male. I can’t. There are too many other things that deserve my attention – family, work, friends. And I wouldn’t want to take away anything from them. But it still felt great to recapture a little piece of the teenage me – without having to shell out bucketloads of cash to recreate my own Kit car or some other crazy attempt to relive my childhood. As a pre-midlife crisis goes, a subscription at 42% of the cover price seems pretty tame.
So I am getting ready to watch Super Sunday and cheer on my Giants (who became my default team by beating my Niners). But my Super Sunday will most likely be Super Sunday Night, after the kids have gone to bed. I’ll tape the game and enjoy the day with my family. Just don’t tell me the score if you see me. In return I offer you this delicious Super Bowl snack.
Game Day Recipe
This tangy, cheesy and addictive delight will keep a smile on your face, no matter who’s winning. Make sure to have enough crackers and a spoon to scoop.
8 oz. softened cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup seafood sauce
3 – 4 oz. canned shrimp – optional, I never use ‘em
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 green pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 tomato, diced and seeded
1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and mayo and spread in a pie plate.
2. Scatter the following ingredients in order:
- seafood sauce
- shredded mozzarella
- diced green pepper
- chopped green onions
- seeded and diced tomato
3. Refrigerate for at least two hours.