Base celebrates Superbowl Sunday

Alisa Boswell: Cannon Connections Civilian Cannon Air Force Base personnel member Erett Grubbs, left, Senior Airman Zach Gibson, center, and Chief Master Sgt. Matt Caruso chow down for the hot wing eating contest at the Drop Zone Sunday afternoon just before the start of the Super Bowl. Caruso, who won the contest, said it was his third eating contest and his airmen usually volunteer him for the contests.

Alisa Boswell

Cannon Air Force Base airmen piled into the Drop Zone on Sunday afternoon to celebrate what Col. Wes Norris calls a national holiday: The Super Bowl.

“A lot of (military) folks can relate to sports in a lot of ways. It brings in people from all walks of life,” Norris said. “And from a military perspective, it’s one of the few times for some airmen to get together and celebrate. It’s a chance to get away.”

Although each airman attending the afternoon football event had their own special teams, they all shared a common passion for the game itself.

“It’s the same thing as with a championship fight; it’s exciting because it’s seeing who’s the best in the nation,” said Senior Airman Ryan Dodge. “To me, it’s always fifty/fifty (chances to win). It depends on who wants it more.”

Dodge said he has been watching football and attending games with his dad since he was a small child. He said he was “hooked” after attending a Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) game at five years old.

At the start of the game, many airmen seemed to believe there was an even chance of either team winning the game.

“I think this is one of those Super Bowls where it’s hard to pick a favorite because of the characters involved,” Norris, a Dallas Cowboys fan, said. “They’re both class acts. I just want a good, competitive game.”

Dodge said his team is the Houston Texans, but for Sunday’s game, he was routing for the Giants.

“This year, my team’s actually in it, so that puts a twist on it,” said Staff Sgt. Juan “J.T.” Torres, a New England Patriots fan. “I’m going into it knowing that if we lose, hey, at least we made it here.”

The game ended 21 to 17 with the New York Giants in the lead.

Along with a room full of airmen excited and curious to see the results of the game, there was also a six-man hot wing eating contest.

After several minutes of chewing with watering eyes, plates were weighed and Chief Master Sgt. Matt Caruso stepped forward as the winner.

“I don’t want to eat anymore (wings) for awhile,” Caruso said, laughing. “This is my third or fourth time entering a food eating contest at Cannon. It’s not like I volunteer for these things. My airmen volunteer me for them.”

He laughed again.

Caruso won a $50 AAFES card.