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Not bowled over on Super Sunday

Some Tri-State area residents ignore big game

Some Tri-State area residents ignore big game

February 04, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - It was Super Bowl Sunday and kickoff was minutes away, but 26-year-old Tony Towne was in no hurry as he browsed Blockbuster's family section with his daughters. "I have other priorities, like spending time with my kids," said Towne, who said he hasn't followed football since enlisting in the Army in 2000. In opting not to tune in to what has long been the country's highest-rated TV program of the year, Towne joined millions of Americans who break the mold by spending Super Bowl Sunday engaged in something other than the big game. In 2007, about 93 million Americans watched the Super Bowl, or about 43 percent of households, according to The Neilsen Co. And while that's enough to make normal Sunday-evening destinations such as grocery stores and laundromats feel deserted, there were still a handful of people to be found running errands Sunday other than restocking the chips and soda. "I'm not a big football fan," explained Hunt Hardinge, 54, of Hagerstown, who was searching for a movie to watch with his wife, Peggy, instead of the game. "It's pretty low on my list. I'd probably pick up a book before I'd watch football." Others said they boycott the game on principle. "It's just too commercial," said M. Sherrill, 47, of Hagerstown. "It's more like a 'what can I sell you' bowl." Factors such as Janet Jackson's brief exposure due to a "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 half-time show also contributed to some families' reluctance to view the program. "I'm a Christian, so I try not to get involved with a lot of stuff," Towne said. George Far, 55, who moved to the area from Australia four years ago, said he had yet to be infected by Super Bowl fever, something he said is a uniquely American phenomenon. "I don't understand," he said. "It looks like they're fighting each other with the kicking. I don't like that very much." The game isn't the only thing that gets too rowdy for some tastes. April Stotelmyer, 22, of Hagerstown, said she went to the grocery store during the Super Bowl to escape from other viewers' antics. "All the guys are yelling," she said. Many nonfans took advantage of the diversion to visit restaurants and shopping centers while the crowds were at a minimum. "I picked 6 p.m. to come (grocery shopping) because I knew there wouldn't be anyone here," said Sharon Dick, 46, of State Line, Pa., as she walked into Martin's Sunday evening. Bonny Fritz, 44, of Mercersburg, Pa., found a similar situation when her family met for dinner at Pizzeria Uno at The Centre at Hagerstown. "Usually it's packed and you have to wait," she said. "Tonight, we just walked right in." Fritz said Super Bowl Sunday is a game night for her family, but not in the traditional sense. "We play 'Monopoly,' 'Sorry,' 'Chess,' 'Scrabble,'" she said. "We're just not big sports people."

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