Monday, February 7, 2011

Goodbye Football, Hello Chocolate!

The Super Bowl is my favorite sports day of the year. It has the celebratory feeling of a holiday, like the Fourth of July, without the fuss. The day is filled with hearty, all-American food, entertaining ads, and hulk-like men ready to pummel each other- what’s not to love? But Super Bowl Sunday is always a little bittersweet for me.

For starters, it marks the end of the season. There’s something about the one game per week schedule that makes the NFL season feel both traditional and unique. There is none of this eighty, ninety, one hundred game business- just a short sixteen game regular season with a few more if your team makes it to the playoffs. The week leading up to a game is almost ritualistic; devoted to studying the opponent and calculating the ramifications and stakes of the game. It’s like a chess match trying to figure out how the players and coaching staff will scheme to outdo their adversary. In truth, the game played is just a small part of the story. At the end of the day, football season is probably the perfect length- not too long and not too short. Regardless, I always find myself wishing there was a little more football to be enjoyed.

Super Bowl Sunday can also remind you how your own home team came up short. Take this season for example. Not seeing my own beloved Patriots in the championship brought back the sting of defeat when we lost to the dreadful Jets. And of course, if your team makes it to the Super Bowl there’s always the chance your team will lose on the biggest stage in sports. Take the Patriots vs. Giants 2008 Super Bowl. That day will forever go down as the worst sports day of my life.

But enough with the negativity because let’s be honest, all in all the Super Bowl is sweet. And this year’s Super Bowl was extra sweet because it marked the end of my sugar fast. I spent Saturday night loading up with desserts- five cartons of Haagen Daz and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, in addition to homemade chocolate peanut butter bars. As I reacquainted myself with my favorite food group while cheering on the Green Bay Packers I thought about how it could be to my benefit to experience candy, chocolate, and ice cream in the same way I experience an NFL season. That is to say, in a measured and balanced quantity.

I really think I underestimate how much of an impact the NFL schedule affects my love for the game. The anticipation leading up to each week’s contest builds a kind of awe and reverence for the game watching experience. And the brevity of the season makes me relish each game all the more. As I bit into my first chocolate peanut butter bar on Sunday it tasted so rich and delicious. I truly savored the different flavors: peanut butter, caramelized brown sugar, chocolate, and cocoa powder. And just like a football game, it was really more about the time leading up to that bite and not the bar itself that made the experience all the more enjoyable.

It might seem a little ridiculous the manner in which I am talking about football and dessert but these past two weeks have been a step in the right direction for me. While I’m not ready to adapt a diet as strict as the one I followed for the previous two weeks, I want to continue cutting back on my sweet intake and allow myself the time to build up my expectations. It’s cliché, but absence truly makes the heart grow fonder and makes the reunion all the sweeter.

Oh, and by the way… yay Packers!

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