Like many American teenagers, I was forced to spend every other Friday night of my teens on the bleachers at a high school football game. There was a lot of tradition around these events, even though all four years I attended games my team, the Corvallis High School Spartans, only won one time. There was the giggling with friends, the holding hands with boys under blankets, the (torturously humiliating) marching band or pep band (depending on the year and the band director's pill addiction situation) that I was nominally part of. There was a lot of gossiping, bullying, flirting, emotionally preparing for the dance that would later happen in the gym and talking about the soccer teams (teams that won state championships, thankyouverymuch). None of the school's best athletes went near the football team and our cheerleaders were the main targets of the aforementioned bullying, so it was only a few of the saddest parents and poor, beaten down Coach Beck that paid attention to the actual games. In this way, I managed to leave high school without ever learning the rules of this brutal, boring and kind of arbitrarily (as far as I can tell and yeah, I'm fine, don't explain it to me) scored game. Add to this the fact that I grew up without a TV and here I am, a 30-year-old who has been avoiding the Super Bowl her whole life.
Now that I live in the Mission in an apartment building full of people that seem, if this is even possible, to love the 49ers MORE than they love the Giants, it appears that this year I am facing an even bigger challenge to my Super-Bowl-avoidance-scheme than in years past when I lived in places like Oregon or I was doing things like creative writing grad school. But, like a line backer or a quarterback or, I don't know, a tight end? I never give up. Here are five ways to avoid this year's Super Bowl madness in San Francisco or wherever you are actually, if you live in America:
1. Take a sleeping pill. Tell everyone you know that you are preparing your body for an upcoming trip to Australia so you need to reverse your circadian rhythms. Then make sure the stove is off and all your doors are locked. Then go to sleep.
2. Get on a sailboat and solo it to the middle of the Pacific. During Super Bowl time, you can't trust anyone to not try to make you care about kickers and yard lines and downs. Even the most fun friends will turn on you when you mention that you don't think it's cool that to watch adult men give each other brain damage for entertainment. So learn how to sail and then strap on your life jacket because the Coast Guard is going to be busy watching the game so you probably won't get rescued until Monday.
3. Go on a silent meditation retreat. You can't expect to avoid football anywhere on Super Bowl Sunday. They will be talking about it at the climbing gym, using it as some weird metaphor in yoga classes and listening to it on hand-held radios at ski mountains. The only way you can still be engaging with other people on this day is telepathically, through silent meditation. For safety, pick one that lasts a few days on either side and happens in the middle of the woods. This is the Super Bowl. You can never be too careful.
4. Get drunk. If you are the type that prefers a quicker method to (albeit much more temporary) bliss, consider out drinking your football loving friends. Set your alarm for 6am and get up and start "tailgating" in your bedroom. With any luck, you will forget where you are by 8 and when the game actually rolls around, you will be passed out, peacefully, in your bed. (Editor's note: this option causes liver damage, destruction of relationships and social media-based humiliation and should never actually be used, even to avoid the Super Bowl. That said, feel free to tell your friends you were too drunk and full of chicken wings to respond to their texts and go on a bike ride instead!)
5. Move to Paris. This is, of course, the nuclear option. This is the way you avoid Super Bowls for the rest of your life! Bonus: you learn French and get to eat pain au chocolate for breakfast every morning. Just beware, there are American bars in every city. Map them out and make sure to avoid them on your way to the marche on Super Bowl Sunday.
Bon chance mes amis! Joyeux Super Bowl!