Skip to main content

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.The Associated Press

First off, Shakira killed it and Jennifer Lopez was in comparison a tad predictable. I mean seriously, the pole dancing? The halftime show, mainly an emphatically physical assertion of Latino culture, was a smack in the face. Right down to the choreography featuring Latino children in cages singing, Born in the USA.

That smack in the face was so, so needed. The millions watching at home, many asleep at that point, had a reason to wake up. This Super Bowl like so many was a gruesome slog as a sporting event and spectacle.

It’s so gruesome I think the way to approach the Super Bowl is to see it as an opportunity get some chores done: Update the Christmas card list, do a spot of ironing, sew on loose buttons, darn your socks or tune your ukulele. The average length of a Super Bowl game is 3 hours 44 minutes. Oodles of opportunity to get stuff done.

Me, I chose sewing and darning socks. Sock-mending is a great restorative on a winter evening and few evenings feel longer than Super Bowl Sunday. In fact, the only reason I agreed to watch the bloated NFL shindig for the paper was it afforded me the liberty to tackle the sock issue.

Copious research – I read Globe and Mail columnist Cathal Kelly the other day – equipped me with the essential information. This year’s Super Bowl featured a hooligan outfit from Kansas City playing some hipster cabal from San Francisco, the latter known as the 49ers. Any further online research was pointless. Going online I was instantly guided to the NFL shop, which is hawking a men’s and women’s “Scarlet San Francisco 49ers Holiday Wordmark Pajama Set” for $76.99 Canadian. It’s a pajama set so frighteningly ugly it’d cause small children to burst into tears.

The pregame show on both TSN and Fox lasted approximately seven hours. Eventually, after time passing so slowly it seemed the clock on the wall ticked sullenly, the teams made their entrance. Then a sideline reporter, a person with a voice that would clear a clogged drain, shouted, “They always have each other’s back!” She was talking about Kansas City, I think.

The first and most important thing about darning socks – mine a merino-wool blend my mother bought four years ago – is to turn the thing inside out and insert a wooden darning egg. A darning egg also doubles as an excellent cat toy, to which my cat Rita can attest. If you don’t have a wooden darning egg, the heel of a half-bottle of champagne can suffice. Empty the bottle first, of course. You’re welcome. Do not use a light bulb, ever. What you’re doing, essentially, is a running stitch. You sew around the hole or worn patch. Make your rows close together and your stitching small. This is vital. Otherwise, you’re back darning the same sock a week later. That would be worse than watching this Super Bowl again

The darning was well under way when vital news emanated from the Super Bowl broadcast. Apparently the hooligan outfit from Kansas City features a player who is a) Canadian and b) a medical doctor. Now, this sounds like the premise for a CBS drama about a fish-out-of-water character who eventually falls in a love with a nurse who helps recover from an injury. But TSN said it was true, so it must be. The score was 6-3 then 7-3 and I felt the way Andrew Scheer must feel these days: Bereft of purpose, adrift in the scheme of life, watching a contest from far, far away.

The analogy came to mind because at halftime, with the score 10-10, the screen presented a panel of middle-aged men talking about both teams being “conservative.” Then came Shakira, whose hips don’t lie; unlike the NFL and both TSN and Fox, all of whom lie scandalously about this game being “super.” I’ve seen napping cats that emanated more energy and charisma than this shower of lugheads who move the ball for four seconds and then regroup to chat about hair gel, or whatever they’re doing.

Time passed and the darning went well. You know, years ago I took up cross-stitching, a relaxing inexpensive hobby, ideal for someone who watches TV for a living. Once you have handle on the supplies, you’re set. Six-strand cotton floss is your main need. Plus the embroidery hoop, naturally. For a while I attempted a pattern that bought to life a small black cat with green ayes, in honour of my cat Rita. Then I realized this would make Rita vain, so I gave up. You know what cats are like. The diagonal lines and three-quarters cross-stich were murder to do anyway.

More time passed and in a brief burst of energy the Kansas City outfit took the lead. Then it was over. Three of the four men interviewed at the game’s end talked about “Getting the job done.” Sure thing. Sock-darning done. Now for some Shakira videos for me and my cat Rita.