“Happy Superbowl! Here’s Africa.”

February 3, 2009 at 9:15 PM (Friends, Happenings) (, )

Staring at the banquet hall set up in Faneuil Hall’s Ned Divine’s, I couldn’t think of a less likely place for me to be spending Superbowl Sunday.  Russ, Beth and I found ourselves amongst 200 philanthropists gathering to support Public Action for Arts & Education’s “City Kids” at its 29th Annual Superbowl Party.  Although the game flashed across a massive projector screen, most attendees seemed preoccupied with silent auctions, raffle tickets, wining, dining and otherwise socialising.  It looked like the game only served as a reason to convene.  Feeling only a little under-dressed in our jeans, Beth and I retreated to the bar to get a menu and, more importantly in my case, a brewski.

I can’t say that I was wildly enthusiastic about the Superbowl this year.  I grew up in a Giants household; I live in Boston, where Tom Brady lives down the street (waaaaaaaaay down the street, but that doesn’t make the statement any less true).  You can maybe imagine how awkward the Superbowl was for me last year.  Anywho, neither Giants nor Patriots made it to the final game this year, and although I definitely enjoy watching the game, I wasn’t emotionally, geographically, or genetically attached to either the Cardinals or the Steelers.

On Saturday, I had forgotten that Superbowl Sunday was to follow.  After my memory jog, it occurred to me that I had no plans for this year’s game (the crew and I had convened at one enthusiast’s apartment the previous year, only for him to swear that he would never host a Superbowl party again after the Pats’ loss).  I was running competitors’ practise at Balera yesterday wondering if I had any friends I could call for game day festivities when the phone rang.  It was Billy Morganti, a prominent, proactive and highly respected member of the dance community.  He wanted to invite Russell to an “awesome Superbowl party.”  I took the message, trying not to wish that I could go too much.  Russell’s a close friend of mine, but in the dance community, I’m a nobody.  Russell’s a studio owner, and another prominent, respected dance figure.  I assumed that if one dance somebody is inviting another dance somebody to a special event, that there won’t be too many nobodies present.

A couple hours later, I was gathering my things, getting ready to head home and look for a bar to inhabit during the game.  Beth was locking up the studio, and Russell asked if I was on a time schedule.  I have no friends who like sports who aren’t also jaded from last year’s game so I’ll be drinking alone at a pub during the game.

“Eh, not really, why?”

“If you’re not in a rush, Beth and I are going to be heading into Boston for this Superbowl party.  I guess it’s a dance event, too.  We can give you a ride in in a little bit.”  Eager to avoid paying T fare to go eat chicken wings by myself, I happily accepted.  “Sure, Beth just has to go home and change real quick.  We can hang out at Solea while we wait.”

Free ride home, hanging with my buddy Russ and tapas?  Yes, please!

I was finishing up my artichoke fritters when Beth stopped by to collect us.

“Why don’t you come with us?”

Oh thank the Lord Jesus, I don’t have to watch the game alone in a bar filled with drunkards!! “Are you sure?  Didn’t Billy have to put you all on a special guestlist or something?”

“Yeah: ‘Russell Jackson and Guests.’  Come on!”

And that is how we found ourselves amidst the Philanthropian Sea.  After finding Billy and his table to say hello, Beth and I made our way to the bar to place an order where Russell eventually found us.  “How much was the entry fee?”  After conducting some observatory research, we found that entry was $30.00.  “This is a charity event, and we got in for free.  We should at least buy some raffle tickets.”  The three of us dug through our wallets, found some cash, and bought a total of 20 tickets.  We finished eating and went back to the hall to join Billy and Company, just in time for the half-time show, and what looked like a live auction.  Russell flipped through the auction guide, commenting on the starting bids when the auctioneer introduced the first item: three nights and two days at Stowe, VT.

“We’re starting this bid at $350.  Do I hear $350?”  Silence.  Russell grinned.  Beth shot him a glare that clearly said “Don’t you dare.”

“Again: $350?  Going once . . . going twice . . . ”

Evidently Russell did not speak Glare, or he chose to ignore it, because the next thing I witnessed was his hand shooting into the air.  “$350!”

The auctioneer looked at him quizzically.  “What took you so long!?  Do I hear $400?”  We looked around, but no one else seemed too interested in Vermont.  He continued: “$400?  Going once . . . going twice . . . ” He pointed at Russell, “Congratulations, you’re going to Vermont!”

As the room applauded, I looked at Beth and grinned.  “You’re gonna have fun.  Don’t worry yourself about it!”  It was then that I learned that Russell complained when car rides lasted longer than 20 minutes, and that he’d never been skiing in his life.  “Minor details.  You’ll still have a blast.”

Our table won a few more items, but Beth, Russell and I kept our hands down.  I’d already splurged on raffle tickets, and had no intention of trying to get my hands on $600 Red Sox tickets.  Russell was ecstatic.

“That was awesome!  I’ve never bid on anything before and I won!  Where are we going?”

The game resumed again, but we were busy socialising along with everyone else.  After the third quarter, Russell and I decided to see if we won any of the raffle prizes.  Together we won three.  Russell’s enthusiasm rivaled that of a schoolboy who’d just found a frog to bring home when he saw that he’d won two items.  He surrendered his winning tickets in exchange for an original photograph of one of the Celtics players accompanied by an autogAfricaraphed piece of wood panel floor and an Africa-inspired painting.  I won the other Africa-inspired painting.

While Russ paraded about with his additional prizes, I wondered to myself what I’d possibly do with this painting of two African natives toodling past a watering hole.  My Superbowl Sunday certainly hadn’t gone anything like I had expected.  Granted, I wasn’t expecting much, but at least I thought I’d be able to tell someone what the score was after the third quarter, or what my favourite commercial was by then.  Instead, I was at a charity event with Africa under one arm.

With great friends.  And having a wonderful time.

I suddenly decided that I liked my painting of Africa after all, and mounted it on my apartment wall as soon as I got home.  Admittedly, its context is a lot more memorable to me than the content of some silly commercials I can look up on YouTube any old time.

Today’s Tunes
“Losing My Way,” Justin Timberlake
“Gone Going,” Black Eyed Peas feat. Jack Johnson
“The Sweet Escape,” Gwen Stefani
“Take Me Home Tonight,” Eddie Money
“Safe and Sound,” Rebelution
“Julia,” The Beatles
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” Green Day
“Octavo Día,” Shakira
“Something,” The Beatles
“For Once In My Life,” Stevie Wonder
“Days Gone By,” She Loves Me
“Billion Dollar Babies,” Alice Cooper
“Crush,” Dave Matthews Band
“You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave,” Fall Out Boy
“Rods and Cones,” Blue Man Group
“Virtual Insanity,” Jamiroquai
“Sunday Morning,” Maroon 5
“Tell It Like You Mean It,” Quantic
“Road to Dead,” Paula Cole
“Girl,” The Beatles
“A Love of Your Own,” Average White Band
“Carry That Weight,” The Beatles
“You Gotta Go,” Chase the Sun
“Fly Me to the Moon,” Diana Krall
“Build God, Then We’ll Talk,” Vitamin String Quartet
“One Step Up,” Bruce Springsteen
“Motorcycle Drive By,” Third Eye Blind


1 Comment

  1. And Suddenly, I’m Competing At the Eastern « And Here, We Have My Musings said,

    […] throughout the year, and one of its organisers is Billy Morganti, who you may recall from an earlier post this year about my Superbowl adventures.  This one’s possibly the largest of the four, and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: