I know many of you will be boycotting the Big Game today, which is certainly understandable given the NFL’s temporary devolution into political correctness.
We, however, will be gathering with Raj’s clan to watch the Super Bowl as has been the family tradition for 51 years.
Since 1967 all of the 9 siblings who were either in town or within driving distance have gathered at Casa Raj to watch the Super Bowl, cheer for their favorite team, diss the refs and otherwise carry on like typical football fans.
Mom would make a pot of chili and a pot of her famous goulash and the house would be packed to the rafters with revelers. It was like Christmas Eve all over again. In the early years sibs and various friends/aunts/uncles/cousins gathered to eat drink and make merry. Then the crowd expanded to include assorted boyfriends/girlfriends who may or may not end up as spouses as the years clicked on. Then came the grandchildren, and in the blink of an eye the grandchildren began bringing various boyfriends/girlfriends who may or may not become spouses themselves somewhere down the line.
Mom has been gone 7 years now and Dad…so recently departed we still half expect to see him in his chair in front of his REALLY big screen TV when we round the corner. But we will gather today anyway, partially out of habit, partially in solidarity in our loss, partially because nobody wishes to end the tradition. But mostly it’s in tribute to Raj’s Mom and Dad.
In a world increasingly known for temporary hookups, serial friendships and caustic ideological divides they somehow managed to create an extended family anchored now by 9 siblings of vastly different personalities, beliefs and temperaments. That this family, against all odds, still manages to set aside their grievances several times a year – in both good times and bad - to reconnect and celebrate life despite its burdens and challenges is a tremendous homage to their parents.
And that is why I won’t be boycotting the Super Bowl today. Sometimes a football game is just a football game, but a family is most definitely always a family.