This is part two of my Super Bowl Diary. Read Part One here.
As part of my brother-in-law Pat’s epic Super Bowl haul, he was given a voucher to spend at the merchandise tent. The Super Bowl Merchandise tent is basically a horror chamber meant to help patrons experience a similar environment to the sweat shop where undoubtedly a nice portion of the shirts and hats were made. The tent was crowded and loud. There was some insipid pop tune I couldn’t recognize playing on repeat blaring in our ears the entire time. I felt sure I had wandered in to a psych experiment designed to test the limits of my mental endurance.
The seventh level of Hell is located in the Super Bowl Merc Tent
Most of the official Super Bowl items were ridiculous and tacky, of course. There was a cool Colts-style jersey for the Super Bowl, but it was on available in children’s sizes. The only other item of note was a Tony Ugoh jersey, officially stretching the definition of “items of note” well past the boundaries of sanity.
Once we extricated ourselves from the morass of the Merc Tent (aka: The Everything Wrong with America Tent), we continued out of the convention center and down to the underground entrance to the Luke where we found the Winter Wonderland party Pat had gotten us passes to.
Holy. Freaking. Crap.
The party was being held underneath the Luke some kind of room that must only exist for such parties. The expansive area felt like it was designed by Stefon. It had everything: open bars everywhere, ice sculptures, fake snow falling from the ceiling, Hall of Famers signing autographs, crazy gourmet food, a stage with a live band (The Doug Flutie band…not making that up), and an ice rink.
Yeah. I said it. An ice rink.
Professional ice skaters at a Super Bowl party. Forget the lady in the foreground trying to figure out how that live tree is growing indoors, I’m still trying to figure out how much it cost to install a mini-ice rink inside of Lucas Oil Stadium, and more to the point: why would anyone do such a thing?
The part was a crazy mix of wealth and youth. With the music blaring and the lights going, I could barely process my environment. The first three tables we sat down at, Pat would small talk with the party goers already present. Three CEOs in a row. We sat down at random tables and every time we did there was a CEO of a billion dollar company there. I of course have no idea what to say in such situations. What do you say to the guy whose company is a corporate sponsor of the freaking Super Bowl? Pat, being a fully function member of society, had no trouble conversing easily with such people. He runs in those circles because he’s super smart and successful. I’m glad he knew what to say. The best strategy I had worked out was just to ignore anyone who spoke to me and stare at the wall blankly like I was autistic, in the hopes that the party goers would just feel sorry for me and leave me alone.
I was completely out of my element. I’ve never been to a night club. I’ve never been to corporate party. Eventually Pat and I found an open table and sat down for a real conversation. I’m not going to lie to you. We talked about Downton Abbey. There. I feel better having said it out loud. In the end, we spent nearly two hours there before heading up to the game. I didn’t even have anyone sign anything because the only player I really cared about was Pierre Garcon, but asking him to sign for me would have been…awkward. Jack Lambert was there too, but he’s maybe the scariest man alive, so I just stood at a distance in awe. As for guys like Vaughn Miller and Floyd Little…it would have been a sweet day to be a Broncos fan.
On the way up, we saw Flava-Flav buying a shirt at the Colts Pro Shop. I was on the escalator, and couldn’t get my camera up fast enough, but we then went by again, and there was no doubt. It was him. He had a giant clock on and was waving to all the people on the escalator. A brush with greatness, indeed.
Before the Super Bowl, the Pats fans were mouthy. They were clearly outnumbered, but that didn’t stop them. They were beligerant and already drunk by 4:30 PM. We hit the can on the way up to the game, and a feral pack of townies had taken over a first floor bathroom, berating anyone in a Giants or Colts jersey.
My blood was boiling and it was still a half an hour till kickoff.
Coming tomorrow: part three