Guess who we're rooting for around here? This is all Curious Girl's doing. A month ago I don't think she knew the name of the local football team, but thanks to the brainwashing program (er, spirit-building-activities) at her school, she's been telling people "Our Team has One More Game! They won!" for the past few weeks, and she wanted to make Our Team cupcakes for the Super Bowl Party we're heading to later today.
I don't really understand the mania: growing up in New York, I was surrounded by passionate sports fans, fans who were often involved in bitter rivalries. Of course, my youth was pretty much a period of drought for most of the NY teams, but I just can't remember the entire place going so batty for any team leading up to a game. Some of the private schools around here have no school tomorrow because of the Super Bowl. That's insane: what are working parents supposed to do?
I'm not entirely unenthusiastic when it comes to sport. I was hooping and hollering in my living room when the New York Football Giants won in 1986-87. My father has had season tickets to the Giants since the early 1950s, and in that time he's not missed more than 10 games (and most of those have been lately, when he's been in Florida for part of the football season). He and his footballs buddies are aging, and some of their sons have taken over the seats. They have their traditions, like dad's opening day suit (the same one all these years), and the berets one of their mothers knit for them, now faded from all the sun. I'm not actually much of a football fan, but I love the Giants because I love my dad. They're just part of the family tradition. So I root for them, and the other NY teams of my youth, and I've never really worked up sports allegiances anywhere else. I rooted for my college's teams while I was there, and when I lived in Canada I rooted for the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jays, but somehow that seemed different (and I still root for Team Canada in the Olympics). So all this enthusiasm about two midwestern teams in the Super Bowl?
But my daughter does. While she can do cheers for the Giants and loves to wear her "Go Giants Go" dress (as she calls the cheerleading outfit my father sent her, and we've seen no reason to explain what cheerleaders actually are), she has been transformed into a local team fan by the relentless public enthusiasm and the team spirit day held at school on Friday. She likes both, she tells me, and I had to tell a bit of an untruth in a conversation about what teams I like. Curious Girl couldn't quite cope with the fact that we might not like the same teams, so I said, well, I like Local Team, AND the Giants. I know that my child is not an extension of myself. I know that the place you grow up makes an imprint. I understand that Curious Girl will have her own interests. But it is odd, even for a not-very-passionate-fan like me, to have a child articulating preferences for teams which just don't register on my radar. A lesson in separation, I guess. And an amusing one, in that CG's idea of how to celebrate the Super Bowl is a) to have a party b) put chips in a bowl and c) wear a fancy, fancy dress and red sparkly shoes.
Something Marla will appreciate about our football cupcakes: Nutella makes excellent frosting. Very quick, very tasty.