My family has some strong opinions about the Super Bowl, which they’re expressing loudly day after day.
No. 5 son (age 11): “The whole world will be ravin’ about the Ravens!”
No. 3 son (17): “Ravens, shmavens! San Francisco will be packin’ for Disney World!”
No. 4 son (15) is still making up his mind.
My wife: “Will you all puh-LEEZ stop arguing about this game over dinner every single night!”
Why these rooting preferences? Well, No. 5 likes the Ravens because ... I’m not really sure why. I believe they were one of a group of teams he decided to like when he was 5 or 6 years old because “they have cool helmets!”
No. 3 son hates the Ravens because he’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and the Ravens are a bitter division rival of Pitt. (Incidentally, he loves the Steelers because they won a championship when he was at an impressionable age, and another one since, enabling him to live a happy, well-adjusted childhood while his extended family of Buffalo Bills fans becomes more embittered with each passing year.)
As for No. 4, after an extensive and exhaustive analysis of personnel and game plans, he’s still struggling to choose a favorite, although he’s admitted to me he can’t really go wrong, because, no matter who wins, one of his brothers will be bummed!
Me, I’m still making up my mind: potato chips and a creamy ranch dip, or tortilla chips with a spicy salsa? As for which team to root for, consider this. I could root for the Ravens if only because the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kapernick, had enough baseball skill to be drafted by my beloved Chicago Cubs, and he rejected them!
I could root for the 49ers if only because the first documented visit to the San Francisco Bay by Europeans was a party of exploration led by a guy named “Don.” Don Gaspar de Portola. My wife knows a lot of Spanish language and cultural things, and keeps trying to tell me that “Don” wasn’t part of his name, but when I mentioned that he happened upon San Francisco Bay by accident, having marched past his intended objective of Monterey Bay because he failed to consult his GPS, she said, well, that does sound like a “Don” that she knows.
I could root for Baltimore because my No. 2 son’s girlfriend grew up on the Maryland shore, and has many passionate Ravens fan in her family. She herself may mostly be interested in the Super Bowl for the TV commercials, but still, it’s a rooting thread to hold onto, however slim.
I could root for the 49ers if only because their mascot, a sort of scruffy, gold miner-ish looking fella named Sourdough Sam, has a bio that made me chuckle: His home town is “Dem Thar Hills,” and one of his hobbies is, and I quote, “cheerleaders.” (The bio also lists Sourdough Sam’s “favorite appearance”; the answer is “Anything with cheerleaders.”)
I could root for the Ravens because many of my phenomenal victories in Fantasy Football this past season were due to the exploits of their star running back, Ray Rice, or their reliable wide receiver Anquan Boldin. On the other hand, I didn’t make it to my league’s championship game because I didn’t start Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta. He scored 29 points while sitting on my bench, leaving me tied with my brother-in-law, who won the game on a technicality (he correctly answered a tie-breaking trivia question: “If ‘Don’ precedes a Spanish guy’s name, is it actually part of his name?”) Anyway, Pitta Spitta, I say.
I could root for the Ravens because they’re the only team named for a bird to ever win a Super Bowl (they did it in Super Bowl XXXV; the Falcons, Cardinals, Eagles, and Seahawks are a combined 0-5). Then again, the 49ers are the only team named for a number to ever win a Super Bowl. Of course, they’re the ONLY team in the NFL named for a number, but still.
I could root for the Ravens if only because their defensive back Bernard Pollard, the only player on either team from my beloved Purdue Boilermakers, is nicknamed “Chocolate Therapy.”
Which is what I better reward my wife with after we argue about the game over dinner tonight.