In part one of this three part series we talked about the food and drink aspect of the gathering for the Big Game. We touched upon some of the past eras, the current era, and some ideas to make things easy on you, Party Host. In this installment, we’ll get into the logistics of fitting everyone into your living space.
First of all, be realistic, if you live in a small studio apartment, it’s not going to be enjoyable for anyone if you cram, well, anyone into your space to watch the game. The first requirement of all this is to have some space. While it doesn’t need to be in a house (an apartment will do), you really should have 2-3 rooms at your disposal, maybe even four depending on the quantity (and size) of people that will be in attendance. And let’s just get this out of the way right off the top, the most important room (not included in the number above) is the bathroom. This needs to be in working order and easily accessible….or else you better have an easy path to the woods in your backyard.
One of the rooms needs to be dedicated as food central. Obviously, this probably will be the kitchen. Believe me, it is better if this room is separate from the television watching area. You will be glad you kept everything in one place, limits the potential for accidents. We’ve all seen the sad scene before, back turned to the television filling your plate, then an exciting play happens where everyone screams and jumps…oy, food on the floor in an instant. Not appetizing, especially if blue cheese or meatballs are involved. With everything on the same table, you can easily see which foods need to be replenished and if you need to put out more paper plates and napkins.
Of course, one of the rooms needs to be the main game watching area. The bigger the television, the better, but size isn’t everything (at least that’s what I’ve heard). The most important thing is that its placement is so that the maximum amount of people can see the screen. You will want to have it as far back in the room as possible, up against a wall or similar. If you aren’t on the east coast, you may not want the set in front of a window. The seating placement is just as key. Couches and large chairs should be as far back as possible. Smaller chairs can be in front of them, and any folding chairs you can get your hands on should be in the back as well. If you think you’ll be short, I’ve never had a problem asking people to bring a couple folding chairs if they have them.
The most ideal seating arrangement is to have all seats in the back with plenty of floor space between those seats and the television so that people can sit on the floor and watch. You’ll be surprised, the floor can sometimes turn out to be the best place to watch. And get rid of all tables. No need to even have an end table or similar for people to put their drinks and/or food on. Having tables around encourages carelessness, if you make people hold onto their food and drink at all times, they will know where it is at all times and eliminates the “is this my beer or yours” scenario.
With your main viewing area set, here’s where you can improvise. A second television is a must, no question about it. I’m lucky enough to be in a house that has a separate sun room which is adjacent to my living room. Voila, a second television gets set up in there and using the chair set up described above, I’m able to maximize two rooms for my party attendees pleasures. As a bonus, the separate room can separate those serious fans (men), from the casual fans (women). Ha ha (Just kidding if my wife is reading this).
If you don’t have a second room, set up a second television in the main viewing room. If you have a large crowd, you want to have options which direction people can look to see the game. The second set doesn’t have to be as big as the first, just needs to be available. If you don’t have one, borrow one, you can never have enough! The only problem is cable, yet this is easily solved. Invest in a splitter and some cable wire and you’re in business. It’s cheap, comes in handy, and can be used year after year. If cable isn’t an option, you need to make sure you have good reception. Buy a nice antenna that you can plug into the wall. Just make sure to keep the box in case you want to return it after the game. These things work great. In fact, not a bad idea to have one on hand just in case the cable goes caput….not that I’d know first hand or anything.
In addition to all of the above, you’ll need to determine how to pump the game into the bathroom area. Luckily one of my friends has an old 5 inch black and white TV run by batteries. Even a small radio tuned into the game will do nicely. You know with the amount of beer being consumed, someone is going to miss a critical play while relieving themselves. No need to miss the action during this time of need. Any other “unused” rooms in the house could use a radio as well and if there are small children attending (hey, guys of the 00’s are family guys, right?), it is mandatory that there be something set up in the baby changing room.
That’s about all. Of course, if it’s only you and two buddies, a couch and two recliners facing a single television will do…but why not think big…get everyone together and make a day of it. Having trouble getting people to come over early? Always a good idea to have someone bring over their Play Station 2, XBox, or similar. As a bonus, you can then play out the game with the two teams before the game starts. Two years ago, we played it out and believe it or not (my buddy Stoney can attest to this, since he was the Rams), in our pre-game game, the Patriots beat the Rams 20-16 (actual score was 20-17). No word of a lie.
That’s about all for the set up, you won’t want to miss part three of this serious where we get into the serious “contest” phase of the Big Game!