SAN DIEGO — Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial national holiday, with huge parties. Restaurants sell millions of pounds of chicken wings to celebrate the event. Today, however, things were different.

Like everything else held over from 2020, social activities have been scaled back. Last year, I met 15 friends at a Dave & Busters in Towson, Md. Little did I know that would be one of the last gatherings indoors for a year. Had I known what I know now, I might have played a few more games and introduced myself to a few more strangers.

This year, I scaled back the celebration but still chose to link up with a few friends safely. I’m here this time, so at least the warm weather won’t drive us indoors.

Instead, hanging out by an air fryer will replace hanging by a bar.

This year, I was surrounded by vintage records in my buddy’s pad instead of TVs and surround sound, and that was just fine with me. The past year has been filled with so much isolation that getting together is the only way to feel normal.

“It’s good to see some familiar faces,” said Matthew Deluca, my friend and neighbor, from Long Island, New York. “I know we aren’t back, but today it feels great to pretend for a second.”

We had a potentially legendary matchup for the Super Bowl with the undisputed GOAT (greatest of all time) in Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady playing against the only young QB that looks equipped to surpass him one day in Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.

But alas, experience overwhelmed. Final score: Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 9. But between being with good friends and watching a good game, halftime festivities and the commercials, it was a pretty entertaining event.

I can’t tell if this signifies the end of a tough year or maybe the beginning of a new chapter, but I do know it’s nice to not be experiencing it alone.

The writer is a student at the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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