“What football team are you rooting for?”

To the best of my memory, I first heard that question as a bartender when I worked at Bob Baumhauer’s Wings Sports Grill (which was waaaaay back in the halcyon days of 1999). In the 7 years I worked there, I can’t tell you how many times I got this question. Mostly it was men asking me, but I had more than a few women pose the question too. It wasn’t an outrageous question to ask, given that I was working at a sports themed restaurant, but I found it mildly annoying that people would assume that I was interested in football. Over the years and across multiple jobs, I’ve had the question asked many more times. Hell, at my current job, I was asked just last week.

Here’s the thing: I don’t like USAmerican football. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all. And that’s not from lack of exposure. Growing up, two prominent pop culture touchstones were often found in our household. The first was sports; specifically basketball, baseball, and yes, football. My father was all about sports, and could really get into his games. Talking (sometimes loudly) to the television in response to a play, a referee’s decision, or a player’s conduct? Yeah, that was my pop. You know those things you did deliberately as a child to annoy your parents? Those things you knew would irritate them?  No, I never did anything like that. I was a model child. I have no idea what my father’s face looks like if I stand between him and a football game. For all that football was a regular presence in the house, I never took to it. I did take to the second pop culture touchstone; thanks to dad, I found myself fascinated and utterly enthralled with USAmerican comic books.

My father was the one who bought me my first comic book- Marvel Tales #155, a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #17 (by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko). I think I still have it in my enormous comic book collection (its north of 10K) that I really need to pare down. Sorry. Digressed. My memory of my childhood is spotty, but I think the next comic book I owned was Superman Vol. 2 #3 (writing and art by John Byrne).  If memory serves, this comic was in my Christmas stocking in 1987. The next year, my father (who was in the military) was shipped off to north Alabama. That’s when I began collecting comic books. I remember there was a convenience store across the street-Circle K, I think-from the military installation we lived on. On a regular basis, I’d take my allowance and ride my bike to the store and buy a comic book. I also found myself buying comics from private collectors who would set up shop outside the Post Exchange (a shopping center on the base). My collection began to increase substantially when I turned 16 in December of 1991. With a vehicle (my parents bought me a 1984 Mazda B2000) I was able to visit actual comic book stores, and boy did I ever-it was during the 90s that I bought most of my 10K+ collection.

So if there’s a story featuring dueling superhero teams and you ask me which team I’m rooting for, chances are I’ll have an answer.  But if you ask me which football team I want to win, don’t be surprised when you hear “I don’t follow football. I’m not rooting for any team.”

That’s what you’d hear any other year.

This year is different though. This year, for the first time in my 39 years on this several billion year old planet, I’m rooting for a team to win the Super Bowl.

The good-natured Super Bowl rivalry between Captain America star Chris Evans and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt has moved beyond a charity bet to inspire a charity T-shirt.

As CBR noted last week, Boston native Evans and Seattle resident Pratt dug in for their own Civil War:  If New England wins Super Bowl XLIX, Pratt will don a Patriots jersey and make an appearance at Christopher’s Haven in Boston, which provides a home away from home for young cancer patients and their families while they undergo cancer treatments at nearby hospitals. but if the Seahawks win, Evans will dress as Captain America and visit Seattle Children’s Hospital while carrying a 12th Man flag.

Now TeeFury is getting in on the action with a “Chris Vs. Chris” shirt, featuring the familiar helmets of “The Outlaw” and “The Patriot.” Proceeds from sales benefit Christopher’s haven and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The shirts are available for purchase through Feb. 10.

Who am I backing?

Well, Chris Evans is hotter than Chris Pratt, so I lean toward the Patriots, but really…I want Evans to visit Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and I want Pratt to visit Christopher’s Haven. Because I think that would be an awesome present to the children in both places. Can both teams win? No? Shows you how much I know about football. Maybe they’ll both take up their respective challenges no matter which team wins.

“What football team are you rooting for?”

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