I woke up at 2:15am to make espresso and a gouda cheese omelette. Why, you ask? Because it was Super Bowl Monday.
That’s right – thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the Super Bowl aired at 3:30 Monday morning here in scenic Tbilisi. After breakfast I hopped in a cab from Vake to Saburtalo. Vazha-Pshavela was deserted. The lights from the little 24 hour restaurant barely shone onto the sidewalk, and for a moment I had the irrational fear that they might be closed. When I approached I saw that I was only the third expat to arrive.
As it turned out, no one else was coming – it was just me and two friends. For some reason I thought that the Super Bowl would be bigger – that people would really care, that expats would fill the few Tbilisi establishments willing to stay open all night and actually air this eccentric American sporting event. However, few people had actually expressed interest – partly due to the time the game aired, and partly, I suspect, due to a genuine lack of interest – and no one responded to my facebook query about who was watching the game and where. C’est la vie. We ordered beer and potato khinkali.
We must have made an odd scene – two Americans and an Australian watching an inscrutable activity taking place with what looked like a rugby ball – and at one point one of the waitresses came over to ask us what exactly was going on. “Football Amerikuli,” we explained. Our Australian friend kept complaining about all the pauses in the game, and we offered no sympathy. Sadly, the bootleg Russian channel we were watching did not air the commercials, so during commercial breaks we were treated to images of people milling about on the field, doing whatever it is one does between plays at the Super Bowl. From what I hear, the commercials weren’t all that good this year anyway. Over Kazbegi beer, we talked about the Budweiser frogs and “Wassup!”. Ah, Budweiser, what have you done for me lately?
The game itself started off kind of bad – the Giants benefited a great deal from penalties in the early game, and I brought up the 2006 game in which the Steelers benefited a great deal from penalties and there were many bad feelings afterwards – but in this case the calls seemed to be pretty solid. Then the Patriots took the lead with some pretty shockingly good (actually, record-setting, apparently) offense. Being from New York, I mildly favor the Giants, although they play in New Jersey and my disdain for East Rutherford actually slightly exceeds my disdain for Foxboro.
During halftime, bootleg Russian broadcasting company showed a Lenny Kravitz performance for some reason, before switching over to the actual Madonna halftime show. Madonna is showing her age, and I felt that Madonna 2.0 (aka Lady Gaga) would have been a better choice, but you can’t win’em all. Our Australian friend left.
The last few minutes of the game were the best – the suspense and excitement and the weird hesitant touchdown that the Giants scored; Tom Brady’s getting sacked and then coming back in the fourth down with a big completion; those final two Hail Marys and the Giants defense coming through. I have never felt so alone while clapping in my life.
The game was over around 7am – plenty of time to make it to school. I don’t know why more people didn’t come out.
Yeah, okay, it was a little depressing to be one of two Americans in a little restaurant in Tbilisi watching the Super Bowl in Russian on a 40″ plasma. Next year, guys, we’re going to have to put something together.