Monday, January 26, 2015

Super Memories

We're coming up on Super Bowl Sunday, and I have been flashing back to past years and parties with my various youth groups. Here are VII memories that came to mind from my XXVIII years in student ministry. I am still waiting for Amber Herrick Irby to refresh my memory of the great Super Bowl Sunday fight in Kissimmee. That's another story for another day, but suffice it say Super Bowl Sunday was never dull. The one thing I don't miss about those youth group days was the annoying question the week before the party- "Hey Carl...what are going to do at the Super Bowl party?"  Ugh. WATCH THE GAME, PEOPLE!!!

1)  It's weird, but I have absolutely no memory of any kind of Super Bowl party during my years (1978-83) at New Garden Friends Meeting. I remember Super Bowls from every other stop on my career- even one from 2001 at the Union Church of Hinsdale, IL, when a large crowd filled our little house to watch the game. I was only in Hinsdale for one Super Bowl. But I have nothing from New least not Super Bowl related. I do, however, remember watching the 1980 US men's hockey team win the Olympic gold medal in the church basement!

2)  My first Super Bowl party after moving to High Point and Springfield Friends Meeting was cut short by a snow storm that led to an exciting couple of days (see A Super Surprise). The Giants beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI on January 25, 1987.

3)  We had several parties at the home of Butch and Barbara Moran while we were at Springfield Friends Meeting. I can't remember if they were really youth parties, or if most of the youth were just there because they were related to the Morans!  In any case, these were fun because doing anything with Butch was fun, and they had a 55" screen...which in the early 90s was HUGE!!!

4)  A group of my friends used to get together for the game and make huge crock pots full of chili, blending a variety of recipes. Somewhere along the way, this changed to me making Mexican Pile-Up for the the multitudes of  youth who would show up for our parties. For the uninitiated, pile-up is basically a taco salad you pile on a plate using chips instead of a shell. I have fed a lot of kids a lot of pile-up on Super Bowl Sunday over the years...but I always made them bring the desserts!

5)  The party got serious on January 26, 2003. We had moved to Wesley Memorial UMC in Tampa in 2001, and now we found our hometown Buccaneers in the big game. I knew I would be irritable and grumpy if I didn't get to pay full attention to the game, so we decided to not have a youth group party- sort of! We invited only a few select youth and adults who we knew would watch the games and hosted it at our house, complete with Wing House wings! My Bucs whipped the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, and as the game ended we went outside and listened as the entire city of Tampa honked their car horns in celebration.

6)  The following year (Feb. 1, 2004) was a perfect example of why I often got frustrated on Super Sunday. We had the party in the Fellowship Hall at Wesley and drew a big crowd- about half of whom cared anything about the game. I spent most of the evening chasing kids back into the room and cooking. We went through 30 pounds of ground beef in the Mexican Pile-Up that night. I was in the kitchen at halftime, trying to clean up a bit, when Jacquie Thomson came running in a told me that Justin Timberlake had just exposed Janet Jackson's breast in what came to be known as the Wardrobe Malfunction. And I had missed it, along with most of the first half. At least the game got really interesting after that, even though the hated Patriots won.

7)  My final youth Super Bowl party was a great one. We held it in the Fellowship Hall at Trinity UMC in Waycross, GA on Feb. 4, 2007. I ran the cable through a VCR and into a video projector and we watched the game projected on a wall that had to be 90" wide!  WE also ran the audio through our sound system, and we were better than any sports bar around. As a matter of fact, we were illegal. The NFL actually stopped some churches in Indianapolis from doing just what we did, limiting the size of the projection to 60". We charged ahead, eating pile-up, Wong's ChineseDick's Wings and all kinds of goodies while the Colts beat the Bears and made Tony Dungy the first African-American ever to coach a Super Bowl winner. Good times, and a great way to go out!

Over the past 7 years our tradition has changed, but the party continues. This Sunday I'll be at Winners Sports Bar here in Tampa to watch the game with Marilyn, Will, Lisa Jewett and a crowd of strangers. The owner of Winners is a huge Seahawks fan and the place will be loud and crazy in support of Seattle. So I get to watch the game, I don't have to cook and we can be as obnoxious as we want while cheering against the Pretty Boy and Hoodie. We always have a blast. But still...I miss all the excitement of those youth parties, and I always will.

Because of Jesus,

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