MU students celebrate socially-distanced Super Bowl

With COVID-19 guidelines in mind, students had to alter and reflect on how they’ve cheered on their favorite team in past Super Bowls.

This year’s Super Bowl was, like many other events, different than usual.

While MU students prepared to celebrate and watch as the Kansas City Chiefs played in the Super Bowl again, MU told students to keep their celebrations as contained as possible.

On Super Bowl Sunday, MU’s official Twitter published a reminder to “Celebrate safely this weekend, Tigers,” by maintaining social-distance and wearing face coverings as students watched the game.

Andrew Bourbon, a sophomore studying biomedical engineering, said that this year was similar to last year in terms of how he and his friends gathered to cheer on their team.

“I’m in a frat. We just went into the basement, set up some couches, made some pulled pork and nachos,” Bourbon said. “We’re just kind of a tight-knit group. There’s only about 15 of us. It was just normal.”

Bourbon said that his fraternity limited it to members of the fraternity with no outside invitees. He said last year was comparable, as he attended a small gathering in a dorm building on campus.

While COVID-19 guidelines did not affect Bourbon’s celebration, it did for some people, like sophomore Lilly Valdez. This year, Valdez said she went to a close friend’s house with a small group of people to watch the game.

“Normally, I would have had a big Super Bowl party with my family and friends, and we would have invited a lot of people over,” Valdez said. “This year, I didn’t get to do it with my family, but I did with my friends. It was a lot smaller of a group.”

Even though it was an adjustment for the football fan to celebrate with just a few friends, Valdez said it was still enjoyable.

“I definitely had fun, and I think everyone else had fun too, but I definitely miss the big Super Bowl parties,” Valdez said.

Maya Kitchens, a freshman studying sports broadcasting, said that although she didn’t support either team she did want to find a way to celebrate with her friends who support the Chiefs. Kitchens is from Alabama, which has no NFL team.

“I’m kind of on a bandwagon,” Kitchens said. “I’ve never really supported a team, but I was rooting for them.”

She’s celebrated the Super Bowl both in Alabama and in Missouri in the past, however.

“When I was in high school, and when I lived [in Columbia], we would usually either go to a Super Bowl party or have a party,” Kitchens said. “It was a few families.”

While Kitchens didn’t have much of a stake in the game, she still wanted to find a safe way to celebrate and join her friends while they cheered on the Chiefs. While they decided to go out to watch the game, feeling comfortable in the environment was still important.

“Me and a couple of friends went to a restaurant,” Kitchens said. “It actually was not [crowded]. All the tables were full, but people were not on top of each other. It followed COVID guidelines. I felt safe in there.”

Even though this year was an adjustment for football fan Valdez to celebrate with just a few friends, she said it was still enjoyable - even if she misses last year, when social-distancing wasn’t a worry.

“I definitely had fun, and I think everyone else had fun too, but I definitely miss the big Super Bowl parties,” Valdez said.

Edited by Sophie Chappell | schappell@themaneater.com

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