I could tell you where I was when the Helmet Catch happened and paint a picture of the world shifting on its axis as a 16-year-old kid completely lost his shit. I could tell you how my friend Tom’s mother wrote a note to get him out of school the day of the parade due to that miserable illness called “Giant fever.” I could even disclose the pathetic detail I generally try to conceal — that I wear my Super Bowl XLII Champions t-shirt (purchased from one of the thousand homeless men-cum-vendors that sprung up in Manhattan at approximately 1 a.m. after the game ended) to bed whenever I have an especially bad day.
The truth is, these moments have faded into memory, fragments of tangible experience lost to time and complacency. They are stories I’ve told hundreds of times, now devoid of the sensations and intense emotions that made them so formative at the time. They're fond memories, to be sure, but only memories.
Sunday, though, that’s real. When the Giants beat the Patriots four years ago, I told myself I’d never forget how it felt and would carry the happiness of that triumph with me the rest of my life. It was a stupid thought, and a presumptive one – who am I to try and control emotions? At 16, I’m set for the rest of my football life? With another Super Bowl coming this weekend, I can tell you right now I crave that thrill just as much as I did four years ago.
Today, Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning field goal against the 49ers is seared into the back of my skull as I go about my day. I consult with my dad about the state of Eli Manning’s confidence – he has become an amateur body-language specialist during press conferences. I go out of my way to fall into the pattern of interfering with my team’s karma. In truth, I’m surrounded by the very same tension, the same exhilaration and the same helplessness that I had all but forgotten. Different but exactly the same.
So when I’m asked for my favorite Super Bowl memory, I’d have to say it’s the one I’m living right now. The greatest game I’ve ever watched was Super Bowl XLII (if you think otherwise, let’s just fight), but the maelstrom the Giants have put me through these past few weeks is so close. My only hope is that I do a better job of preserving this feeling for as long as possible, though I know from the get-go that the effort will be futile. So I suppose I’ll just tell the stories while they still feel true.
Wait, did I say my only hope? Scratch that – my only hope is that we win the damn game.