No one has invited me to watch the Super Bowl with them this year. I’m very happy about that.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-social. I like football and I’m a good guest, I think. I’m very willing to bring drinks and snacks, I always take my boots off at the door – and I know when it’s time to leave. But I actually like to watch the game. And, if possible, the preceding hours of football chat, sometimes called expert analysis. It’s my pre-game stimulant.

It’s customary to have parties for these one-off sporting spectacles like the Super Bowl or the Grey Cup. That’s all fine and good. I’m down with sharing drinks and some homemade nachos while watching a normal, regular-season game. But not for the ones that really matter. We’re talking history here, which is, after all, a subject we took in school, so we should be paying attention. There is considerable suspense as an entire season comes down to one game.

The problem is these get-togethers invariably include far too many people who are there for the spectacle and the food and the drinks and the chit-chat, but not the game. They talk too much, often constantly, almost never about football. When they do talk football, it’s with disdain, oddly proud that it’s the only time they watch, even though they’re not really watching. “Can you remind me again who’s playing?” As if they care. They might object to the violence, they probably don’t understand the rules, and they might share their critical view of cheerleading — well, I’m with them there. Not only is this chatter trying on its own, but it’s the volume that makes it difficult to hear the announcers, let alone focus on the game.

If one of these people happens to be the host, and controls the remote, that can be very problematic. They might mute the sound if the phone rings, or pause the broadcast, undermining the very actuality a true fan craves — or, please save me, change the channel during a commercial break, returning to the game seconds or minutes late. Interception? How did that happen?

What’s that Marlin Brando line near the end of Apocalypse Now? “Oh, the horror!”

And then there are those who want to have a proper sit-down dinner before the game starts, using the PVR to record the first part of the game that we’re surely going to miss. Did I mention that I want to watch it live? On one such occasion, the dinner lasted so long – you know, appetizers, salad, main dish, dessert, liqueurs – some guests had to leave before we moved into the living room to watch the game. Babysitters at home, I assumed.

One friend, who actually follows football, has long held season tickets, and is quite knowledgeable, invited me over to watch the Grey Cup a few years ago. Just the two of us. Great. My own personal expert analyst, sitting on the couch beside me, a good cook with a nice wine collection at that! The trouble was, he insisted on the sit-down dinner bit, and it turned out he wasn’t as good with the PVR as he was with the stovetop. He recorded the game all right, but when he finally turned the TV on, and before he could press the correct buttons on the remote, the first thing I saw was the lopsided, second-quarter score. It was pretty much game over.

Oof, I can feel myself getting cranky. Must be the pre-game jitters.

What’s really happening here is the football game is being used as an excuse to invite some friends over for drinks and some food, particularly when you’ve never known your hosts to follow football. They had no intention of anyone actually sitting quietly and watching the game.

I just want to say that if you’re ever tempted to have me over – unlikely at this point, I’m sure – forget it. I much prefer to be sitting alone, huddled in my darkened basement, in my favourite chair, cold beer and snacks close at hand, my phone on silent, my laptop closed, the cat shut in a closet, Dianne doing a jigsaw puzzle upstairs, the porch light off, the driveway unplowed in case someone decides to drop over, smack dab in front of the big screen with the sound turned up.

Kind of like Hallowe’en night. Sorry kids.

Alone, but never lonely, in other words. And as happy as a wide receiver clutching the winning touchdown.

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