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Column Football

COLUMN: Mike’s Not-So-Super Super Bowl Sunday

When you know you’re going to have a kid, you start daydreaming.
Most of those daydreams involve how your kid will fit into your life and your story, because before they come into the world, there’s no way to fully understand how hilarious and unrealistic a thought that is.

While my wife, Shar, was pregnant with our son Vincent in early 2013, I watched as my beloved 49ers went on a dream run to the Super Bowl.

What a storybook, I thought. The Niners would beat the Ravens, and coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick would go on to win another two or three championships together, victories I’d get to enjoy with my baby boy at my side.

After 30+ years as a sports fan and six and a half years as a father, I’m not sure which part of my life it’s more hilarious that I expected to control.

The Niners, of course, lost that Super Bowl, and then spent several years mired in mediocrity, not coming anywhere near that peak again. 

Until this year! This magical year, where the last five games of the season were decided in the final 10 seconds. I got to watch some incredible finishes with Shar and Vincent, as well as our four year-old daughter, Maya. My mom was even in town for the regular season finale, which saw the 49ers win the division and home field advantage on the last play of the game, holding the would-be winning touchdown short by an inch while my whole family went nuts in the living room.

I am a pessimistic sports fan by nature, and I told JJ before the Niners’ playoff wins over the Vikings and Packers that I was worried about both games, a pair of contests that saw the Niners not trail for a single second. 

After the NFC Championship Game: the Super Bowl. But first, two weeks of anxiety and anticipation, daring to dream of my first championship sports memory with my kids. I told them about how their mom’s dad used to listen to 49er games while growing up in Hawaii, about how their uncle and I grew up watching games together.

Our lucky jerseys set, our plans to host people for the game canceled so that we could enjoy the moment together, I dared to have one little daydream. Me holding both kids up in celebration, my wife hugging us all, the cats running away in terror.

And then, reality. 

Before the game could even arrive, I came down with a serious case of influenza. I lost almost 25 pounds in the four days before the game, spent half of Saturday at urgent care getting chest x-rays because of low oxygen levels. Under no circumstances, the doctor said, should I be anywhere near my kids for a few days.

“We can’t watch the game together?” my son asked me with tears in his eyes when I told him.

Super Bowl Sunday arrived, and by the grace of God and/or the miracle of tamiflu, I felt half-human. I decided I’d compromise with the doctor and wear a surgeon’s mask to cover my face, and watch the game from the dining room, where I could see the TV and my family, but the kids weren’t technically in the same room as me. 

Yep, the stuff daydreams are made of.

The game, of course, didn’t go our way. My kids wanted to give me consolation hugs, which we smartly denied. I went to bed to pass out early, this year’s dream dead, next year’s dream just starting to spark in the recesses of my flu-addled brain.

At about three in the morning, reality shook me awake in the form of Maya’s freezing little hand.

My baby girl was shivering, and I picked her up and asked if she was okay.

She barfed, all over the bed, all over the floor, and all over me.

“Daddy,” she said. “I don’t feel good.”

I know, baby girl. Maybe next year.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.