It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE SUPER BOWL.
1. That’s right, for the remainder of Super Bowl week Jose will be keeping a running diary of his Super Bowl week experiences. Now Jose knows what you’re thinking. You’re thinking "Wow, Jose I didn’t even know you were at the Super Bowl."
Well, the truth is, Jose isn’t at the Super Bowl, and he certainly isn’t spending the week in a cushy hotel 45 minutes from the center of a centerless city on an expense account. In fact, he wasn’t even planning on doing a running diary until Bill Simmons convinced him otherwise. Jose is a big fan of Simmons and has been following his running Super Bowl diary for ESPN Page 2, just as he did last year, and today, Jose noticed something. It isn’t really about football. So far, Simmons’ diary appears to have consisted mostly of commentary about what he watched on TV and the death of Johnny Carson. Jose’s not saying that Simmons isn’t in Jacksonville, obviously he is, but it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t need to be. After all, until Sunday at 6:30 EST, there isn’t a whole heck of lot going on that has anything to do with football. So for days reporter after reporter will write columns diminishing the city of Jacksonville, discussing subjects completely unrelated to football (celebrities, parties, advertisements) and occasionally writing a story on Terrell Owens. As it turns out, Jose can do that from the relative comfort of his tenement in Boston’s historic North End. In fact, Jose can use this as an excuse to write single KEYS on every subject that he hasn’t been able to come up with a full three KEYS for over the past year. So let’s get cracking.
2. Jose and his brother Sam will be watching the Super Bowl at the Melendez family compound in an undisclosed suburban Boston town this year. (Note: Here’s a hint…it’s not Watertown.) For years and years, Jose held a Super Bowl party at the compound every year, beginning with the Patriots first Super Bowl appearance in 1996 (Correction: 1986) when Jose was in fourth grade. As you may recall, the game was not so good, and Jose’s mother made the tough decision to call the parents of Jose’s friends and ask them to pick up their increasingly rowdy children at half time. How rowdy were we? Well, let’s put it this way, at that moment it seemed far more likely that we were all on cocaine than half the Patriots squad. To this day, Jose’s mother regards that as the only party she has ever thrown that was a failure. Thank you again Tony Eason, Raymond Berry and friends for making Jose’s mom feel bad.
One of the traditions begun that day was the Melendez friends and family Super Bowl pool. Of course, there were some logistical problems that year. First, everyone left at halftime, so arranging for the winner to take his winnings would have been hard. But the greater problem was that everyone except Jose’s parents was nine years old, so cash to gamble away was in fairly short supply. (Note: Despite the fact that neither Jose nor his parents are gamblers, gambling seems to have played a significant part in a lot of parties at his house. At one of Jose’s birthday parties, Jose’s father taught Jose and his friends to pitch pennies. One of Jose’s guests was from Mattapan, and his father looked at the penny pitching with amusement and pointed out that "In our neighborhood, we teach kids NOT to pitch pennies.) How did we solve the jackpot problem? Jose’s mother bought a Go-Boot to give to the pool’s winner. One would figure that the promise of a shiny new robot that transformed into some sort of drilling truck would be enough to maintain a the interest of a child, but alas it was not. As one might imagine for such a disastrous party, the winner of the Go-Bot was….yup, Jose’s mom. Unfortunately for her, the robot was not programmed to handle rowdy children. Actually, this was the start of a trend. Jose’s mother has won the pool three times over the years, making her the all-time wins leader. While her wins are not fueled by an in-depth knowledge of football, she at least has a more legitimate claim to the pot than Jose’s father, who always responds to news of the pool with the question "Who’s playing?" followed closely by the question "What do I have to tell you?"
3. Another tradition at the Melendez Super Bowl party is cooking food that is related to the culture of the host city. For instance, when the Super Bowl is in New Orleans, we have prepared jambalaya and red beans and rice. For Sand Diego…well, to be honest, we’ve just kept making jambalaya year after year, along with nachos and cocktail hot dogs. They just taste good. But this year we want to really reenergize the tradition, so in honor of Jacksonville, we’re thinking about making some white toast and ordering in from Red Lobster. (Note: See Jose doesn’t have to actually be in Jacksonville to hate on it just like the "professional" journalists.)
Well, this was a remarkably football centric Super Bowl KEYS, but not to worry, there are still five more days for stories about the Melendez Super Bowl party and many, many subjects completely unrelated to football.
I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE SUPER BOWL.