Mark does not like sports. When I took him to a Chicago Cubs game he disappeared around the third inning and didn't show up again until the seventh. He had found the Cubs souvenir shop, and Mark never passes up a chance to shop. He has told me that he doesn't just hate basketball, he hates the sound of a basketball game. It's the squeaking of basketball shoes on the hardwood floor that sets him off. The squeaking doesn't bother me. If I can put up with Mark, I can put up with any squeak. So I was surprised that by the second quarter of the Super Bowl, Mark had joined us in front of the television. The only problem with that is I had to explain each and every facet of the game.
"Oh my, who is that gorgeous man with the dimple in his chin?"
"That's Tom Brady. He's the quarterback."
"So he's in charge of all those black guys?"
"Um... sort of."
"How come all the quarterbacks are white? Racist bastards..."
"Mark, the quarterback for the other team is black."
"You mean the team with the cool looking uniforms has a black quarterback?"
"The Seahawks. The name of the team is the Seahawks, Mark."
Except that, from that moment on, Mark never referred to the teams as the Seahawks or the Patriots. It was now the white team and the black team. To my amazement Mark actually got involved in the game. He started cheering at the right moments, and booed when his team got into trouble. There were more than a few times however, that I had to assure him that the other team was not cheating, that they were playing within the rules. I have to say, it was a pleasure to finally enjoy a football game with Mark, to have him so fully engaged that he almost had a heart attack during the last few minutes. In fact when the Seahawks... I mean the black team, handed the white team the Super Bowl in the final seconds of the game, I thought Mark was going to commit suicide. And then I realized, he had made a bet with our dinner guest on the outcome. So next season, for a mere five dollars, I will be able to enjoy football without listening to Mark tell me how much he hates it. Considering he'll be betting based on the race of the quarterback and the fashionable look of the uniforms, I should come out ahead.