Super Bowl Party at the Teen Center!

Originally, I had Super Bowl plans, but the host wound up bed-ridden with a virus, so even though she said she wasn’t “canceling” the event, that was pretty much the end of it. Besides, the only fever I wanted to risk catching was FOOTBALL FEVER!

I’m kidding, I haven’t watched another pro football game all season, but out of some sick cultural obligation, I had to tune in, not just for the game, but for the three hours of pre-game coverage. Literally the first thing I saw when I turned on the television was the highly touted pro-life Tim Tebow ad. After all the hype, I was expecting something way more controversial; abortion and the pro-life movement were never even mentioned explicitly aside from the phrase “Celebrate Life” at the end, which is so unspecific that it could have just as easily been the tagline for Visa, Pepsi, or bail bonds. Where were the bloody fetuses we were promised?!

As I questioned why I was watching any of this superfluous coverage, roommate Dan asked whether I wanted to play tennis. The public rec center is always overcrowded, but he theorized that Super Bowl Sunday might keep more people indoors. Dan’s prediction was correct and it was fun to fight the couch potato attitude of the day. I felt like an athletic stud, or at least as much of one as someone playing a preppy, non-physical-contact sport can.

On our walk back home, we talked about ordering a pizza and I moaned that I just wished there was a way we could get free food. In college, the best part of the Super Bowl was that different clubs would sponsor barbeques and you could eat for free all day. As if on cue, we passed a building that I had always believed to be the local teen center and an older lady stopped us. “Do you want to come in and watch the Super Bowl?” she asked. “We have pizza and nachos and a large screen TV.” We stammered for a bit, ultimately committing only to perhaps coming back after changing.

Do we look like teenagers? Does she think we’re teenagers? I’ve taught teenagers, so I should hope I don’t look like one. We pondered this for a few minutes as we decided whether to return for the free food. I wondered if maybe it wasn’t a teen-specific event and open to everyone and did an internet search to confirm. What I found was that the building was called a Community Center, not a Teen Center! “We’re part of the community!” I exclaimed, still clearly wanting free food. We felt better about the situation; obviously that older woman had recognized our correct ages and had extended us a legitimate invitation. We discussed bringing some beer to share, but decided to just be takers in this instance.

On our walk over, we discussed worst-case scenarios: gross cheap pizza, lots of kids, and it not being a large-screen TV. This was supposed to be just funny speculation.

When we arrived, Dan peered in through the door and tried to signal for us to abort (sorry, Tim Tebow), but I had already greeted the older woman who led us inside.

This was not a Community Center -- this was a Teen Center.

If the placard stating the fact were not enough, the posters about not bullying, the computers in the corner with signs about limiting your MySpace time, and the room full of teenagers would have probably tipped us off.

Unsure of how to back out, we sat amongst the group of teenagers and a Reverend, who kept encouraging us to eat. I mean, that’s what we were there for, but it’s surprising the appetite a couple of guys in their mid-twenties can lose when they realize they’ve acidentally crashed a teen center party. Our worst-case scenario was unfolding: there wasn’t even a TV, instead the game was being projected with a large yet grainy picture. Plus, the pizza was just cheap HAR. I think our presence kind of distracted the kids from the game; I’m sure they were thinking, “What are these old dudes doing here?” for which I do not blame do them, as I would think the same in their position.

In a very awkward fashion, we sat quietly for the entire second quarter with our new teen friends, occasionally muttering things to each other about how we’d end up on some pervert lists for showing up here and how glad we were that we hadn’t decided to bring beer to the event. We also tried to plot an escape that wouldn’t seem too rude, before deciding that the best exit was just a simple exit where we said good-bye and thanks. Of course, I had to foul up the plan by tripping on the cord that was operating the projector. Fortunately, I didn’t break or unplug anything, but I did cause a big scene, which provoked the teens to laugh, so I was feeling my ALL-TIME COOLEST at that moment.

Arriving home, we wasted no time cracking open some adult beverages, just in time to watch The Who decompose on the halftime show. Seriously, CBS, if you were that desperate to promote CSI, perhaps you should have just invited the respective casts to sing on stage. As for the second half of the game… whatever. It was good, but I kept changing my allegiance to root for the team that was losing. It seemed like a fun plan, but it was one that was going to end in almost certain disappointment, unless one team scored in the last possible second.

I’ll be a better football fan next year, guys. Meet you at the Teen Center!

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