For some kids it’s their birthday. For others it’s the first day of summer vacation or maybe even Halloween. But my daughter, Jill’s, favourite day of the year has always been Super Bowl Sunday.
Some 11.5 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl in 2014. And about 50 of those viewers were watching it at the annual Scandiffio Super Bowl Super Party.
Gathering for Super Bowl is an annual event, and the kids love it
For the last ten years or so, our family has hosted a party for a group of families and friends. We’ve added a few new guests over the years but the core group has remained the same. Sometimes we go a whole year without seeing each other but we all know that on the first Sunday of every February, we will reunite to celebrate football and our friendships.
We’ve had every age of childhood represented at our party from newborn to teen and even though some of the kids are now at university, several still return home just for the party.
So what is it about our Super Bowl party that the kids love so much?
Each kid has their favourite aspect of the day. For some it’s the food. The menu has remained fairly consistent over the years. It’s your typical football-game spread of chicken wings, pizza, meatballs, and burgers with sliced fruits, veggies, and salads to try to keep it a bit healthy. Add to that the nachos, popcorn, and various desserts (that some of the teens have now started making) and what kid wouldn’t love Super Bowl dinner?
Some of the kids love the decor. The food is always spread on a green faux-grass tablecloth with the participating teams’ colours represented in the dinnerware (which is my fancy way of saying napkins and paper plates). Pictures of the teams’ helmets line the walls while foil footballs spiral from the ceiling. The door to the living room always has an NFL streamer curtain through which the little kids (and sometimes the big ones) love running and tiny foam footballs are placed throughout the house for the occasional pick-up game between quarters.
For Jill, getting the colour scheme just right is critical. As soon as this year’s participants in the Super Bowl were decided, she immediately phoned to discuss the big decisions. Would we be going with the New England Patriots’ red or blue? And would we lean towards the Seattle Seahawks’ “Action Green” (lime) or “College Navy” (blue)?
Getting down at the half-time dance party and keeping busy during the game
All of the kids love the half-time dance party. And by “all of the kids,” I mean everyone who is or who ever has been a kid. Everyone gets glow bracelets and necklaces and when the half time show begins, the lights go off and the party begins. It may be the loudest family room in the country during the performance but the singing and dancing are stellar. Over the years some of the kids have come dressed as the half-time performers. We had one 9-year-old boy who was the best-dressed Madonna in 2012 and I can’t wait to see the Katy Perry look-a-likes this year. When the performers are done (both on the stage and in the family room), the lights come back on, football-themed loot bags are distributed, and everyone settles in for the second half.
While each year the kids have learned more and more about football and its rules, not all have the attention span to sit for the whole game. The basement is therefore always set up with toys and with an area for mini-sticks. There’s almost always a parent down on their hands and knees playing right along with the kids and it’s always so sweet to see the teenagers helping the little ones with the game. A craft centre is also set up with plenty of paper, markers, and football stickers. Kids also love making their own Super Bowl t-shirts. Multiple sizes of t’s are available and once the kids have made their own unique party design, they have everyone at the party sign so they have a memory of the day.
The Super Bowl Super Party is a wonderful time to celebrate my love for the game of football with a wonderful group of friends. For the kids, it’s a fantastic time to reunite and eat, play, sing, dance, laugh, and hopefully learn more about the game. And while not everyone’s favourite team always wins, everyone always leaves happy and eager for the next first Sunday in February.