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Big game brings fans together for revelry

January 27, 2003|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Super Bowl may be the highlight of the year for most football fans, but for many others, it's just another excuse to party - even at an area nursing home.

At Replays Sports Bar in Hagerstown, Dawn Feld, 28, of Hagerstown, said she didn't know who was playing until game day, but planned to root for whichever team was winning.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII Sunday night in San Diego.

Feld's sister Priya Kurtz, 30, of Hagerstown, said she likes socializing with friends, the commercials and halftime, but really doesn't pay attention to the score or the players.

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"You could time their attention to the game with an egg timer," joked Priya's husband, Dave Kurtz, 36.

It's the same story for Denise Kendle, 34, of Hagerstown, who said she doesn't watch the game every year, but because it's one of the country's biggest sporting events, she'll tune in every once in a while.

Terri Jones, 42, of Waynesboro, Pa., said she hardly ever watches football, but during the Super Bowl she roots for the opposite team her husband wants to win.

After conferring with her husband, Jones planned to cheer for the Raiders this year.

Sometimes it's even difficult for the diehard fans to get into the game.

For people like Rich Downin, 28, of Greencastle, Pa., who has been a big fan of the Miami Dolphins for the past 20 years, watching the Super Bowl is upsetting because his team rarely makes it.

"If I wasn't working behind the bar, I wouldn't be watching the game," said Downin, a bartender at Casey's Bar & Grill in Greencastle.

Clint Gaige, 29, of Martinsburg, W.Va., who traveled to Replays to watch the game, said he still loves football even though his team, the Detroit Lions, didn't make it.

"When you're a Detroit Lions fan, you've got to find other teams to root for," he said.

One of Casey's Bar & Grill's customers, Roger Hoach, 30, of Ijamsville, Md., said, "(The Super Bowl's) like Christmas. It's a holiday; even if you don't like it, you do it anyway."

At Broadfording Bible Brethren Church in Hagerstown, the Rev. Bill Wyand said he tries to bring religion into football by holding a special service and party, which helps others who may not normally watch enjoy it more.

In Wyand's sermon, he talked about how teamwork works within the body of Christ.

"I'm a Redskins fan, but I'm rooting for a close game," he said.

Susan Freed, of Hagerstown, said she doesn't watch football but came to the service to be with people from her church.

"Christians should be able to do everything together," she said.

It was that same kind of spirit that prevailed at Avalon Manor Nursing Home on Marsh Pike, where a Super Bowl party attracted about 35 residents.

"Last year was the first time this was done and it was a success, so we decided to have the second annual Super Bowl party this year," said Kari Holben, activities director.

Residents walked down to the activity room, where they got ringside seats for the big-screen television. Pizza, salsa, cheese and chips also enticed them to attend the event.

"The best part is everybody getting together," said James Staley, who has been a resident since May, when he was in an accident.

As far as the football is concerned, Staley said he only started following the teams as the season was heading toward its conclusion.

"I'm rooting for the (Tampa Bay) Bucs now," he said.

Terry Martin, president of the Avalon Manor residents council, said baseball is really his game, but he came down Sunday night to show his support for the Buccaneers.

"I worked for the Hagerstown Suns for 14 years before I had my stroke," Martin said wistfully.

He was enjoying the Super Bowl on television as much for the game as for the pleasure of seeing the Avalon residents enjoying their time together.

Marlo Barnhart contributed to this story.

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