One of my favorite family traditions is our annual Super Bowl party. I feel like it’s relatively standard; my dad crafts an incredible spread of snacks and appetizers that my sisters and I eat faster than we should, and my mom, who usually makes dinner, enjoys a well-deserved night off from cooking. I keep a steady watch on the score of the game, not because I care who wins*, but rather in hopes that the points will align with my name on our family football prize squares, and I’ll get a few bucks out of it.
The late January to early February start of the Spring semester at Oberlin is nice for all reasons except the Super Bowl. Both years I’ve been here, the first day of classes began the next morning, so I was already back in Ohio while my family ate all of their snacks without me in New York. My first year at Oberlin, my dad helped me bridge this gap by getting me some classic, hometown favorite Super Bowl foods to bring back to school. My original plan was to share this food with a friend I planned to watch the game with. Less fun than at home, but it was something, right? I never got to find out how that would have gone, because our game plan changed when I got back to campus.
The friend I mentioned found out that there was going to be a Super Bowl screening at the ‘Sco, the student nightclub on campus, which he favored over our plan because of the convenience and the big screen. Disappointed that my snacks couldn’t come along, I reluctantly joined him. To my surprise, the screening was a lot more fun than I originally anticipated. There was pizza, so I still got food like I wanted, the screen was significantly bigger than a dorm TV, and there were many more people to sit back and enjoy the game with. The best part, however, was that there were football squares, which I thought I would miss out on by not being at home. These squares gave away prizes instead of cash, and I sadly didn’t win anything, but even a year later, I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate.
At the very end of January, when I came back to campus for Spring semester round two, I didn’t even bother bringing Super Bowl snacks because I knew ahead of time that there would be a party at the ‘Sco. It was a warm night for Ohio February (I miss that right now, it’s snowing as I write this), which helped soften the stress of starting school in the morning. Another thing great at softening stress is free food, and when I walked inside, I got some pizza. There was also cake, pretzels, and skittles, the last of which were meant to be used as markers for a game of Commercial Bingo (which I played, but it didn’t stop me from eating some skittles). Football squares were happening again, as was a raffle, which you got a ticket for automatically when you walked in the door. There were prizes of all sizes throughout the game, ranging from candy, to Cleveland Cavaliers tickets, to a milkshake machine. I ended up winning a couple of small things, specifically a stress ball shaped like a football (for getting bingo after the bigger bingo prizes were gone), and a nice five subject notebook (from the ticket raffle).
That about sums up my two Oberlin Super Bowl experiences, but there is one crucial detail to this story that I’m still missing: what happened to the snacks I brought in 2019? Don’t worry, they definitely got eaten. After the game, I met up with some friends who were much less into watching football games (but still very into snacks) and shared with them. This was the perfect solution, because it served as a second sort of welcome back party that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t go to the one at the ‘Sco. Yay for more parties!
*The exception to me not caring who wins is the Patriots. Being from Buffalo, I have to root against them. My home team, the Bills, is not an exception, because they have not made it to the Super Bowl once in the entire two decades I’ve been alive, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. However, if sometime in the next three years the odds of the universe change and the Bills make it to the Super Bowl, I will not be at the Oberlin Super Bowl party. Instead, I will be in my hometown, where the festivities will inevitably be insane, and (quite literally) a once in a lifetime experience. Definitely worth missing the first class or two of the semester.