Just one day after lovable groundhog "Punxsutawney Phil" peeked out from his furrow and didn’t see his shadow (signifying the prediction of an early spring), Kids of Courage was determined to keep the good times rolling with its fifth annual Super-bowl bash. This party was lights out… literally.
To ensure that we didn’t skip a beat of the action, The Blog Squad hosted its inaugural Erev Harbowl camp-out on the lawn of our dear hosts: the Renovs. The sub-zero temperatures weren’t going to deter these aspiring journalists from capturing every moment of the big production. Immediately following the conclusion of Shabbos, these boys wasted no time pitching the thermal, heat conserving tent and kicking off the Saturday night tailgating and hang session. When the rest of the crew showed up, Michael “the grill-father” Celler started manning the portable grill, while Yehoshua Chaim Brosenwald was putting the finishing touches on the marinated steaks. Note to self for future barbeques: avoid starter-logs when trying to get a charcoal grill going. They surely get the job done but apparently the chemical toxins embedded in them are a health hazard - who knew? (I can’t believe we missed the massive warning label that read “Do not use for grilling” which was accompanied by a sad-face and a skull and crossbones symbol. You heard it here first, kids... learn how to read and stay in school or else you might just end up living in a van down by the river.) The stuff written in the other seventeen foreign languages we couldn’t identify didn’t help (though we believe with a strong level of certainty that one of the languages was Canadian) as we started going bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S…‘Cuz I aint not Challah-Back Girl! Bugging out, we immediately called Dr. D for some medical attention. and he reassured us that we’d be fine, so long as we stop calling him every Saturday night with a different medical injury inquiry.
Exhaling a sigh of relief, we continued the Motzei Shabbos chill, keeping a close vigil/our eyes peeled on the front door and driveway for any activity on the prepping forefront. Running a tight ship, we used the remainder of the log to jumpstart our bonfire as we reached for our respective guitars, flutes, oboes, clarinets, tambourines, ukuleles, trombones, tubas, cymbals, and harmonicas for a very special edition of “kumsitz on the lawn”. What started out as just a few guys rocking out quickly escalated into an entire music festival as Sutton-parkers traveled from far and not so close to hear and dance to the sweet sounds of our fine-tuned orchestra. The hands-down highlight of the performance was playing our platinum cover of the Beatles famed song “Twist and Shout”. Big shout out to Larry at ADT Security for hooking us up with the surveillance camera footage of the electric scene. (Shek it out here.) Lead xylophonist Aryeh Lehrer said it best: “Greatest. Rave. Ever.” (The night didn't end there. You can see more from our pre-game party here.) Sweet Dreams y’all.
You know what isn’t the best part of waking up? Yisi’s ridiculous alarm which happens to be the age-old Folgers' commercial jingle. Upon returning from shacharis, we saw a progression of Gourmet Glatt trucks making their way to the Renov residence carrying loads of candy, chips and soda for our snacking enjoyment. Guess breakfast was going to be a little earlier than we expected. We lent a hand to Salvador and his team, added them as Facebook buddies and hustled back to our camping headquarters to start our pre-game prep. Unable to come to a viable solution, we settled the indifference of which team to root for the same way we’ve solved issues since pre-school: an intense game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. After a best of seven showdown, it emerged that Yisi would be the K.O.C. representative for the Ravens while Shek would lead the charge for Da
Bears Niners. Throwing on our respective team get-ups and shmearing paint on our faces was only the beginning as we set out to show our true colors. We got familiar with our team line-ups and watched numerous YouTube tutorials to get our team’s touchdown dance-moves down pat, because after all, you gotta fake it till you make it.
By 3pm, after having mastered our crash courses in Baltimore and San Francisco team trivia, K.O.C.'s Michele Spira and her team of volunteers showed up on the scene as the set-up for the highly anticipated event was in full-throttle. Everybody knew the run-down and jumped right into it. The logistics team facilitated the room spacing and layout, the girls redecorated the room into a game-day atmosphere and The Blog Squad directed traffic as more and more people arrived. In a mere two and a half hours, the house was transformed into a party metropolis ready to host the biggest Super Bowl gathering K.O.C. has ever witnessed. Tonight’s surprise promotion was a choice of red or purple Courager jerseys that had “fashion statement” written all over them. We’re told that these customized threads were personally designed by fashionista all-stars Dolce & Gabanna as an early preview of their upcoming Spring collection. The doors swung open at 5:45p. (Shout-out to the Couragers who flocked from as far as Lakewood, NJ to join in the festivities.)
Over 150 guests arrived in the next 25 minutes at which point The Blog Squad started getting the boys fired up with prep rallies. Ravens supporters huddled around Yisi as they blasted the Ray Lewis Remix and Sheky-T got the Niners gang going with some fresh Kaepernick beats. Twitter claims that Alicia Keys sang one of the best National Anthem renditions in Super-baugh history, but we couldn’t tell you because we were too busy loading our plates with the flavorsome buffet courtesy of our friends at Hapina. From the opening play from scrimmage, (Vernon Davis’ 20 yard reception that was called back due to an illegal formation) the entire first half was completely lop-sided in favor of the purple team. A forty-whiners fumble, interception and two three-and-outs resulted in a halftime score of 21-6 in favor of the Edgar Allan Poe Ravens. Avid ‘cisco fan Shmuli Pepose was overheard saying “Is it too soon to start an Alex Smith chant?” Thankfully the hilarious first half commercials helped ease some of the pain and helped turn those San Francisco frowns upside down.
As halftime was about to commence, the girls took to their seats while we were scrambling for ideas to that could take the boys minds off of Beyonce and friends. Suggestions started getting bounced around but none seemed to get off the ground. Eli Langer’s proposal of doing jumping-jacks in front of the projector screen (as he had successfully carried out earlier during a GoDaddy commercial) set off what turned out to be, according to Ephraim Solash “the super awesomest halftime activity I’ve ever participated in” --- a game of “Shimmy Says” with a KOC twist. The competition started like any ordinary one would, that is until round 14 when Shimmy Vais uttered his next command: “Shimmy Says chug down a 33.8 oz Pedialyte container”. We saw the jokes in the invite e-mails but didn’t think they would actually come to fruition. This put kids without G-tubes at a strong disadvantage, but The Blog Squad held their chins up high and gulped down their choice of “grape drink” flavored solution. Having consumed the contents of the official beverage of K.O.C., the bloggers began feeling a little queasy but kept on truckin’ since the halftime show was not quite over and weren’t going to let Beyonce win without a fight. Unfortunately for them, Shimmy had other plans as his next demand “Do a Handstand for 30 seconds” had messy consequences and knocked the pen-pals out of contention, just as the halftime show lights dimmed, marking the end of the concert. Though The Squad may have lost the battle (in style!) they won the (ruchniyus) war. According to Wikipedia, Beyonce was the second most watched halftime show in history (with over 104 Million viewers) but the boys of K.O.C. weren't among them because they wouldnt give into the peer pressure. Go ahead and shtark-mark that for the shidduch resume.
It took just 11 seconds into the second half for the Ravens to make the score 28-6 as Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards to the house… a new Super bowl record! We guess even the lighting crew thought the game was over at that point, as the lights in the N’awleans Nebuch-dome went out at the ensuing Niners possession. The 34-minute blackout was largely spent on the ground floor schmoozing and davening maariv. This was the first chance of the night that we saw how many people made it out to exhibit their K.O.C. swag and support. We asked longtime K.O.C. bouncer, Dominic, if he had an idea of how many guests stopped by thus far. “I lost count after 350 but I want to say like a gazillion”. Luckily we returned back to the TV as Ray Lewis was getting interviewed on the sidelines just before the game restarted.
Not sure what Coach Jim Harbaugh told his team during the game delay, but the Niners came out of the gate and began scoring in bunches cutting down the deficit to just 2 points with 9:57 left to go in the fourth quarter. The place was going nuts and then it happened: The “So G-d Made A Farmer” commercial. Campers and counselors alike were confused by the Dodge Ram advertisement; Sammy Salamon shed a tear and said “I don’t know what that was but it sure makes me want to buy a farmer” while Murse Yehuda Schoenfeld said “Dina, I think we just found the perfect name for our yet-to-be-born child---Farmer." When the game resumed, the Ravens drove downfield and kicked a 38 yard field goal to increase their lead to five points, 34-29. With just 4:18 left in regulation, Colin Kaepernick tried his best to provide the heroics but the Ravens impeccable, shut-down defense was impenetrable. With a turnover on downs with less than 1:46 to go, the Ravens ran the clock down to 12 seconds. As the Ravens approached 4th down, punter Sam Koch caught the snap in his own end zone, and then burned time by trotting around in his own end zone until he gave up an intentional safety by running out of the end zone, leaving just four seconds remaining on the clock. With the scoreboard reading 34-31 in favor of Baltimore, It was all up to 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn Jr.
After breaking a few tackles it seemed as though we might witness a crazy ending, but just as he cross midfield he was brought down to ground. Game over. Ravens win! After shaking hands with the Ravens fans and congratulating them on the victory, we helped clean up before saying our final goodbyes.
Just as we were about to leave, the great Howie Kafka announced the biggest surprise of the evening: K.O.C. will be sending down three coach buses to Baltimore for Tuesday’s Super Bowl Parade. Jumping with joy, we rushed home to tell our parents about the exciting news. Baltimore, here we come!
The Blog Squad
FULL PHOTO ALBUM HERE: