Unless you've been living under a rock since September, you know the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl, will take place on Sunday.
And your team is not in it.
Yeah, there's maybe a thimble-full of you in the valley who might like the 49ers from back in the Joe Montana and Steve Young glory days who are dusting off your gear, and there's probably even less of you who might be a Ravens fan (although those are hard to find outside of the DC metropolitan area). That's not saying that there won't be one obnoxious guy at your Super Bowl party wearing a jersey and screaming after every play, but for the majority of us, the Super Bowl will be something we're watching because "it's the Super Bowl."
So if you happen to love one of the other 30 teams who aren't playing on Sunday, then you'll probably find yourself fishing for something else to do after the 13 minutes it takes Alicia Keys to sing the National Anthem (just making an educated guess here - could run longer).
Here are a few ideas on how you can amuse yourself if the big game just isn't doing it for you.
Count how many times the commentators use the phrase "big game."
Try to guess how many times the Manning brothers will be mentioned, even though neither are playing in the game.
Try to guess how many times the camera will flash to the Harbaughs' parents.
Guess how long it will take for the stat guys to break out the first Super Bowl statistic.
Predict the songs Beyonce will sing (or lipsync) during the halftime show.
And while these ideas can definitely keep you and your guests amused momentarily, if you're feeling a bit more daring, you can go another route. Try becoming the focal point of the entertainment by attempting one of the following:
Start using football terms out of reference.
Even a casual football fan can easily google some football terms. Try "cover 2," "shotgun," "ineligible receiver," "wildcat" and "pancake." If you have the patience, wait until one of the announcers uses the word. Then you use that same term incorrectly - bonus if you can get in more than one football term. For instance, the announcer says, "They were penalized for an ineligible receiver downfield." You announce loudly, "I was trying to COVER 2 PANCAKES with syrup while setting my satellite radio, but it didn't work because I must have an INELIGIBLE RECEIVER." Or, the announcer says, "The offense likes to run the wildcat out of that shotgun formation." You state matter-of-factly, "We couldn't get that WILDCAT to leave until we got out our SHOTGUN." See how long it takes others to catch on before they make you zip it.
Pay closer attention to the commercials.
Every year, we can expect at least one or two beer commercials featuring hilarious bodily function mishaps, at least one commercial where actors leap buildings for potato chips, and at least one car commercial that ends with you saying, "What was THAT?" If the game is lulling you to sleep, take your bathroom breaks during play so you're near the TV when the commercials come on. Or, during the game is also a good time to refill your drink or your plate, which leads us to....
Eat one of everything on the buffet.
Chicken wings, five dips, seven kinds of chips, three kinds of cookies and two mayonnaise-based "salads" loom in front of you. Take to it like a champ. Load your plate with one of everything - try to use one plate and make only one trip. Bonus points if you can pile everything onto a smaller dessert plate. See how high you can stack it! And fear not if your food tower topples to the ground onto your host's carpet - just call for Fido to come take care of it. It's OK. Dogs love guacamole.
Recreate the Puppy Bowl and Kitty Bowl in your living room.
Who cares if you don't have any pets of your own. Just borrow your neighbors' pets (but just make sure they know first). Set up a three-ring doggie circus in your living room with ramps, loops and squeaky toys. Sprinkle catnip around the premises and watch Fluffy go! For added enjoyment, combine the dogs and the cats. See how long it takes you to have to yank Fluffy out from underneath the couch after Fido goes bonkers.
Recreate the Bud Bowl in your living room.
You don't even have to be drinking adult beverages to do this - feel free to use pop cans, energy drink bottles, even empty dip containers as your tokens. Use your creativity! It's Mountain Dew versus Coke Zero! Arrange your tokens in the center of the living room floor. Yell at any guests who walk across the "field" and interrupt the game. Tell them they get a delay of game penalty and must sit on a chair in another room for five minutes.
So, OK. These ideas, while amusing, are probably not something you want to do at a friend's house, especially if you still plan on being friends after the Super Bowl.
Chances are, you'll wind up watching the Super Bowl the same way everyone else is - peeking around the screen of your smartphone to occasionally check the score.
Hershberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org