A Yearly Tradition that is Our Own “Big Game”
It is Super Bowl Sunday. In just a few hours, the Patriots and the Seahawks will do battle at University of Phoenix Stadium. The winner will be crowned champions of the NFL and have the Vince Lombardi trophy to prove it.
I’m sure that most people right now are getting prepared in their own way. Whether they are firing up the grill, melting the cheese dip, or icing down a case of beer, everyone is getting ready to watch what should be an exciting game. But I am doing none of that right now. I am sitting down writing this blog with the Blues-Capitals hockey game in the background.
And the reason I am writing this blog is to talk about another football game that was played yesterday. It was played between about 20 guys yesterday in Houma, LA at a makeshift football field on Williams Ave. It is called Super Party. And the reason that I decided to write about it is because for 16 years now, this game has been played on Super Bowl weekend.
That statement in itself is amazing for a backyard, pick-up football game. I’m sure that other people across the country get together and play football here and there as well. But for a group of guys to do this for 16 straight years is stunning. Especially when you consider that people have traveled from various other cities and states to make it to this game.
I know this article will only appeal to a few readers and that is fine. It is a personal article that means a lot to me. I wasn’t there for the first few Super Party games. I actually didn’t play until the seventh game. But since then I have been at all of them except for one. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Not only have I had the chance to play a game that I love, but I have had the chance to play with friends that I have always had and guys that I had never met. And even though we may be on different teams, everyone that plays that game is like a brother in some way to me.
In this picture, I would say that I know 11 of these guys pretty good. Some of them I see multiple times over the year in between games and are my “brothers from other mothers”. Some I see less but have known for a few years. And the other guys I may not know at all. Some I have met once or twice and may not see them again until the 2016 Super Bowl weekend.
But no matter what, we all are a part of something that I think is special and is not likely to happen in today’s world. When I started playing in this game, I was 25 years old. I was single, had no children, and goofing off in college while working a meaningless job. But in those nine years that have passed, less and less people are actually getting out and playing football or, for that matter, any other sport.
And while we end up with stretched and pulled muscles, banged up knees and elbows, and full-body muscle soreness for days, we all still show up and get together for this game. And for that, I salute all of us that have been out there. Whether you played in one game or all of them, you are a part of this flag football game that has kept a group of people together for years. And hopefully for many more to come.
As for yesterday’s game, well, it did not end like I had hoped. It was definitely on of the best games that I have been involved in and our team fell just short at the end. I congratulate the winning team members. You deserve it. And I also congratulate our team. We fought until the end and came so damn close. We put up one hell of a fight. There was one point where I thought we were going to get killed, but we never let it get out of hand and we kept it close. Just for that, we should all be proud of the team we were.
It really stings for me personally. I have not won a game since Super Party XI. That is 5 years of losing and it sucks and is hard to shake. And in that 5 year skid, I have had 4 chances to win the Super Party Championship trophy and failed. Hell, the Buffalo Bills of the 1990’s have nothing on me.
But what’s done is done and it is time to enjoy the rest of this year. Not until October will things start moving with next year’s Super Party game. Until then, we will have fun and do what we normally do. But when the time does roll around, this “band of brothers” will all show up and play for the love of the game. So, in closing, I would like to thank the people that started doing this in 2000, the people that keep it going year after year, and the people that will keep showing up in the years to come. We may all be getting old, but this game is keeping us young at heart.
Daryl Karpinski Jr.