More Than a Game
The Super Bowl. Some know it as the pinnacle game of the sporting world, while for others it is solely watched for its (hopefully) comedic commercials and stunning halftime show. There can be no doubt that for many, this year’s game could be one to remember. My family was no different in this regard. The Chiefs had not been to the Super Bowl for 50 years. Of my three uncles, two had never in their lifelong support of the Chiefs witnessed their team have the chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy. And my third uncle would never be able to witness that in person.
My Uncle Mark, who was an avid Chiefs fan and also my godfather, passed away in October of 2014 from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So to say that this Super Bowl was a big deal for my family is an understatement. Knowing Mark would not be there to watch his team play was something felt by everyone and hung like a mist on all of our minds. There was no question that we would all watch the game together and texts began to circulate, and plans formed to show when people would arrive and what the plan would be for watching the game. My Uncle Steve lives in the same town my parents do, and my Uncle Mike came up from Kansas City while my mom’s cousin, who was extremely close to Mark, flew in from Dallas just for this. There was no mistaking that this day was going to be bittersweet either way.
The day finally arrived and dragged on in what seemed an endless stretch of time until 5:30 when the game would actually begin. The nervous energy emanating from both of my uncles was outstanding. They could not sit still for more than thirty seconds and paced to and fro across the room. It was exhausting just watching them from my perch on the couch.
Once the game began, however, the tension reached new heights. They were both sequestered on our four seasons porch because of the yelling that they knew would ensue throughout the game. The only time I saw either one of them outside of that room was during halftime, which was absolutely of no consequence to them. All three brothers were present at this historic moment, albeit one in spirit. My uncle’s Chiefs baseball cap was placed in the center of the table on the porch as a reminder of him and a token of good luck.
I flitted back and forth between the porch with my uncles and the kitchen where the rest of the party was taking place. Of course, the game came down to the final quarter. I wanted to be with my uncles when and if the Chiefs won because I knew it would be a sight I would not want to miss. And I was right. Those moments after the Chiefs scored their final touchdown and cinched the win were filled with screaming, cheering, and spilled beer. And through it all I never forgot how much richer these moments would have been had my Uncle Mark been there to see it and experience them with us. His hat was tossed around, kissed, and praised during the final moments of the game, showing that he never once was forgotten.
In the end, it isn’t about the outcome of the game or how great the halftime show was, but about those memories I was able to make with my family both present and not during this event that means so much to us. And the sweetest moment of all was that my Uncle Steve, who normally places the hat in his garage where he has made a memorial shelf for my Uncle Mark, told me he would give me the hat to have after I graduated college. He told me once I graduate that the hat is mine because I am Mark’s goddaughter, and everyone agreed that he would have wanted me to have it. Once I walk across that stage, I know I will be getting a graduation gift I will never forget.
Edited by: Kristina Drendel