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Game Time, Fat Time: Why we eat what we eat when we watch sporting events 

Big football games mean big calories.

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On Christmas Eve, I - and my parents, siblings and our spouses - attended a football game in Seattle. The Seahawks were playing the 49ers in what was supposed to be a playoff-deciding matchup, so the family donned matching blue-and-green Santa hats (the too-cool-for-school 16-year-old hipster who lives inside of me cringed just a little bit), piled into the old man's SUV and arrived at a parking lot near the stadium precisely three hours prior to kick off.

In the time that preceded kickoff, I ingested the following: three bowls of chili, four pieces of cornbread, half a bag of Ruffles, five 16 oz. cans of Olympia beer and a bevy of other salty items. I didn't need any of this, which I realized about a third of the way up our Everest-like ascension to our surprisingly excellent seats. But, I had to eat and drink all that. We were at a big football game and I've long held dear to my heart the notion that all special sporting events are license to eat like a fat guy who really likes being fat and eating foods that will ensure he remains so.

I'm not the only one. Others in the parking lot were equally gluttonous in their pregame feasts. The guys behind us, in addition to bringing a big-screen television and a satellite dish, were grilling up ribs and others enormous slabs of meat on a grill apparently powered by jet fuel. Somebody else was cooking salmon and a nearby pickup bed housed the most comprehensive nacho creation I've ever witnessed.

This doesn't just go for football games, but most live sporting events. For example, I once attended a baseball game at which one could buy a cheeseburger that had donuts instead of buns. And no, I didn't eat that thing... sadly. I don't know why I feel the need to gorge myself while watching an especially important sporting event, but I do, even though this is essentially like saying: "Hey, you guys out there on the field are physically fit in a manner that defies modern science, so I'll appreciate that prowess by pouring fat into my arteries and drowning my brain cells in overpriced alcohol."

And now that I write that, I realize how pathetic this is. How did this tradition begin? There is no crossover between watching athletics and forcing food into one's body. Will this epiphany stop me from making my annual three-pound Velveeta purchase on Super Bowl Sunday? Oh, hell no! I'll buy that shit, try as quickly as I can to mix it with salsa and get it in the microwave before the following discussion ensues:

Wife: "Did you get Velveeta again?"

Me: "Duh. It's Super Bowl Sunday."

Wife: "You know that stuff isn't real cheese, right?"

Me: "I don't care. It's Super Bowl Sunday."

Wife: "So you can eat crap just because it's the Super Bowl?"

Me: "Exactly."

Wife rolls eyes and tosses the remaining block of Velveeta into the garbage. She exits the kitchen. She returns about a minute later.

Wife: "Oh my God! Did you just pull that out of the garbage?"

Me: "Yep."

Wife: "Why in the hell would you do that?"

Me: "It's a big game. I have to."

Wife: "What?"

Me: "Hey. I told you. Big game."


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