There are a lot of "first" sports moments for Gabe in this first year -- whether he understands them or not.
There was the BCS title game a few weeks ago (particularly relevant for his Florida fan-ness... not that we let him stay up for the 8:45 kickoff), and -- of course -- there's his first Super Bowl today.
With that 6 p.m. Super Bowl start time, he'll get at least 90 minutes of playtime in the living room while the adults hang out eating, drinking, TV-viewing and ad-commenting.
(Note: I'm not big on him watching the TV directly, but I love the idea of him being in the SB-watching party environment.)
A few etiquette tips Gabe (or any kid partaking) needs to be taught:
(1) Talk is fine during the actual game, but everyone is expected to pipe down for the ads. I look forward to explaining to Gabe the seeming contradiction of talking during the action and get quiet for the marketing. (The era of DVR and TiVo has made this less of an issue, because you can always do a fast-rewind if you miss something.)
(2) Eat all you want, but don't (a) kill the chip bowl and or drink cooler without refilling it or offering to get people a new drink or (b) forget to bring something to the party -- it can be something you want to eat, but make sure that it's not something ONLY you want to eat.
(3) Buy at least one "square" in the Super Bowl pool on behalf of each of your kids. It'll give them something to get excited about, especially if they are too young to follow the game. Buying one for you or your spouse is optional.
(4) Help your kid find a rooting interest. Even if neither team in the game is their usual favorite team. I mentioned Gabe's below (residual Florida allegiance, family legacy of Bears fandom). It could be a favorite player, the more favorite city, the more favorite uniforms (or, "What's Happening"-style, more favorite helmet designs). If the kid is really young, it could simply be the team name they can pronounce most easily. (For Gabe, this was a push, between the "Beh" sound of "Bears" and "Kuh" sound of "Colts." Both got similar reactions.)
This year, for the first time, I'm looking forward (or not) to the implications that Gabe has to go to bed sometime during the 2nd quarter. Fortunately, we're having the SB-watching party at our apartment, so I won't miss much of the game, but what happens when it's a "road game" and we have to leave a party mid-game? I suppose that's what portable car-seats are for -- just stick him in a spare bedroom and stick around until the game is over. Or is that irresponsible?
Let me know how you helped your kids participate in the game-watching. Do you have any particular rules or traditions? Enjoy the game!