Super bowl, super bowl, super bowl. I love that word. I chanted it to myself as I sat down to watch the Super bowl in Hirst Lounge, screened by Wilson Commons Student Activities, with my fellow Campus Times friend senior Ashley Bardhan.
“What song is this?” an international student asked as Yolanda Adams started singing “America the Beautiful.”
Who is Yolanda Adams? I’m not sure, but her voice was beautiful. So is America, the Super bowl suggests. Old, decorated war heroes starting the coin toss, a deeply-tanned Demi Lovato, guffaw-inducing commercials — that’s what Super bowl Sunday, and America, is all about.
As someone who hasn’t watched the Super bowl since fifth grade, I can’t say I’m an avid disciple of this tradition. And yet, something about the hard plastic chairs of Hirst and the long folding tables of chicken tenders and sheet pizza offered by the co-sponsoring 2023 Class Council induced in me a smidge of excitement. As far as Hirst Lounge events go, this one was not bad.
They were even giving out fruit, tubs of cubed melons, and sliced apples. How nice is that? Remember the apples, because they’ll come back later.
But I’m here to observe the partygoers, not to remark on the game (because, let’s be real, the most sporty thing I can tell you about is the street style of Sporty Spice). There were probably a smattering of students at the event to begin with, some doing homework on laptops in the back, others gathered at large tables in the front, but more people drifted in as the game went on.
Two kids next to me brought their own jumbo jar of salsa and tortilla chips. A pair entered partway through the game dressed in suits and heels. Another boy was eating mozzarella sticks while wearing latex gloves. I sort of felt like I wasn’t at school, but at a weird sports bar, watching singles sip on cups of Sprite while couples pawed each other under the potted palms.
Some moments garnered laughter. Like one girl who screamed and shook her hips whenever the announcer said, “Shakira.” Or when the announcer said, “He just slid right in, nice and easy.” Or an advertisement for Trump 2020. Or the trailer for the ninth “Fast and Furious” movie.
I thought about how there are nine “Fast and Furious” movies. And that the wings weren’t that spicy. And where was Ashley? I hadn’t seen her for a while.
In 2010, Demi Lovato posted on Twitter that one day, she would sing the National Anthem at the Super bowl, and there she was, taking the stage in a bright white pantsuit. I love things like that, people achieving their dreams. I was watching her do so when suddenly, the massive screen glitched and shut down.
“Um, excuse me?” a girl shouted.
Kids wearing 2023 Class Council T-shirts appeared on the sidelines, and the boy who brought the salsa found the game on his iPhone and propped up the tiny little screen on a brick ledge. Some people squinted, leaned forward. I’m more of a baseball girl, myself.
“This is my favorite part!” another girl said as the screen continued to glitch. When nobody was looking, a guy in a Patagonia sweatshirt started drinking Coke straight from the tap of communal liters set out. I watched two people feed each other apples dipped in caramel sauce, then start kissing as the rest of their friends at the table ate potato chips and pretended nothing was happening.
When the game came back on, Ashley was tapping on my shoulder. “Can you come with me to the emergency room, please? I think I’m having an allergic reaction.”
Ashley is allergic to almost all fruits. In the back of a Public Safety car, she told me the apples had made her throat swell up. I looked at the metal grating between the driver and the backseat and thought about Shakira.
The waiting room was packed, and people sat for hours holding surgical masks to their face. I wondered if anyone was thinking about Lady Gaga’s halftime show last year. I liked that show. In the corner, one woman was watching Jennifer Lopez’s performance on her phone. I liked that show, too. People on Twitter need to chill. Look at all these people in the emergency room on a Sunday night. We stood in the corner and waited for Ashley’s Benadryl to kick in.
Correction (2/11/20): An earlier version of this article said that the Super Bowl was screened by the 2023 Class Council. In fact, though the 2023 Class Council co-sponsored, the event was actually WCSA’s.