Super Sunday: Local fans enjoy football's big day
At Grumpy's Sports Pub, the beer was flowing and piles of chicken wings were being served just before the kickoff for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night.
“I love it; it's fantastic because we're really busy,” said bartender Kyle Hayes. “The regulars, your friends and families are gathering to watch the one last football game of the season, and that makes it exciting.”
Among Hayes' customers were James Samorian and Stan Frazier. Samorian is the membership director at Woodside Plantation Country Club, and Frazier works at the Savannah River Site.
“I don't have a team that I'm really rooting for, so I'm just hoping for a good game,” Samorian said.
Frazier was pulling for the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Denver Broncos.
“I'm going with the underdog,” he said. “Everybody seems to think that winning this Super Bowl is (Denver quarterback) Peyton Manning's destiny and that this is his year. But to me, Seattle has the better defense; those guys really play hard.”
Lorrie Chadd was cheering for Denver. She wore a Broncos jersey with Manning's No. 18 on it and Broncos socks.
“I lived in Denver for 10 years before I moved here in 2003, and I had season tickets for the Broncos games during the (John) Elway years,” she said.
Sitting next to Chadd at a reserved table was Julie Herndon, who was wearing a Super Bowl XLVIII hoodie that she had ordered online. It had a Denver logo on it.
“I've been a die-hard Broncos fan for over 20 years,” Herndon said. “They're my team. My devotion is infinite; there is no end to it. That's what Libras like me do. We pick something, and we're loyal.”
At VFW Post 5877, there was a Super Bowl party that included a chili cook-off. The contest had nine entries, and Dorothy Johnson's chili won.
“I let it cook all day,” she said. “I put a lot of love into it, and there was a lot of experimentation. There's some good stuff in it: Thai peanut sauce, fresh ground coriander, oregano, pork sausage, hamburger and liquid smoke.”
Jonney Grunnet and his wife, Nancy, arrived well before the Super Bowl started and had seats at a table right in front of a big-screen television.
“I want the Seahawks to win,” he said.
Added Nancy: “He was stationed in Seattle when he was in the Navy.”
Kirby O'Brien also was hoping for a Seattle victory.
“I've been sort of a Seattle fan for a long time,” he said. “When I was younger, I liked (Pro Football Hall of Fame member) Steve Largent, who used to be a wide receiver for the Seahawks.”
But to O'Brien, it didn't really matter what teams were playing in the Super Bowl. He enjoys watching the big game every year with pals.
“I love the Super Bowl because of the competition and the camaraderie among friends,” O'Brien said. “Even if everyone isn't rooting for the same team, it's still a friendly atmosphere.”
Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.