I realized when I got to Kurt’s Super Bowl party in Cambridge tonight that the only reason I had come was so that I could bike home afterward.
After all, it was already the fourth quarter and I had only watched about five minutes of the game so far–not the game, actually, but rather the last few minutes of the halftime show and a brilliant car commercial, the one with the frozen guy in the convertible and with the clear allusions to the movie Fargo. And after all, I decided this fall that I no longer believe in football, which left me little choice but to boycott the game.
What I’m really interested, of course, is not the games themselves but the way winning championships transforms the city as a public space, the way it draws people out into the streets and creates a happening, one that makes you want to be out and about to take it all in. I figured that if I timed things right I could eat a few chips and chat with folks in the back of the room until the Patriots won and then bike home to watch the revelers as the spilled out into Harvard Square and Commonwealth Ave, as they did during my post-World Series victory tour.
This time, however, there was very little to see after the Vince Lombardy trophy was presented and the last nachos eaten. A few horns were honked, a few people stood on the corner near out of town news yelling to passing cars, a few others stood in the median of Mass Ave with their cameras, waiting to see what would happen. But it all felt forced, like they were trying too hard.
It made me think of my ride to St. James’s this morning when the sun and warmer temperatures (40 degrees) inspired people to strip down to T-shirts and shorts. When I passed the members of the Tufts men’s cross country team on their Sunday morning run down Mass Ave, half of them had their shirts off. It was if they were trying to will spring into being by the irrational act of removing clothing. With the way the wind cut threw my thick fleece, I would guess that spring didn’t feel any closer by the time they finished their jog.
By the time I got home, the most noticeable activity I had witnessed was the sudden swell of traffic. It made me miss the quiet of my bike ride over, when I felt like it was Christmas Eve and I was the only one not home with my family. Even with the traffic, Allston still felt a bit deserted and just a bit pathetic, with all the parked cars cleared from the streets and only a few people out to fill the void.
So I was just glad to get home without hitting an ice patch or getting squeezed into a parked car. It was just another World Championship, and hopefully we’ll all move on with life more quickly because of it.