Not everyone is bowled over.
Today, some people will eat cucumber sandwiches at candlelit teas, celebrate their engagements, go to concerts, wander past Greek statues, watch for birds, fall in love, play with their cats, and never, ever tune in to the Redskins playing in the Super Bowl.
A generally held belief in Washington says that when the Redskins play their way to the Super Bowl, all life ceases except that devoted to watching the game. People load up on popcorn and other inedibles suitable for stuffing in one's mouth without having to look away from the telly. They decline all engagements not guaranteed to be held in front of a large screen. And they devote themselves to the cathartic task of watching their team, their surrogates, their alter egos, the embodiment of their hopes, demolish or be demolished. By the end of the three hours (plus commentary), it's all over but the shouting and the vacuuming of the popcorn kernels.
But a brief survey shows that a number of Washingtonians have no desire to be taken out to the ball game in San Diego or even to their own televisions in the rec rooms.
Daniel and Ruth Boorstin, for instance, are planning to spend today looking for the whistling swan they spotted last Sunday at their country home in Accokeek. "We had a picnic outside, and I hope we can again," Ruth Boorstin said last week. "We'll look for the kingfish and herons in the Accotink marsh. And we'll go back to town Sunday evening, because Daniel likes to be up early to work on his book. Since he became Librarian of Congress emeritus, he's able to write more every day, on his ancient Olympia typewriter.
"One Sunday we did watch a quarter of a football game so we'd have conversation matter with our Washington friends. It was exciting," she said. "You know, one of our daughters-in-law said she married our son in part because he didn't like football, either."
Bill Homan, at Design Cuisine, won't be watching the game either -- he'll be working. The caterer has at least three nongame-related events at the crucial time. "An engagement party, an afternoon tea and a corporate dinner, all guaranteed to last until after the game starts," he said.
"Is there some sort of a football game Sunday?" asked Ruth Kaplan, National Gallery of Art spokeswoman, last week. She's expecting the usual crowd today, at the gallery's opening of the "Human Figure in Early Greek Art." Nope, the gallery didn't know about the competition when it scheduled the show, which has been in preparation for several years.
"It was originally due to open last fall," said Katie Ziglar of the National Gallery's information staff. "But getting the film, the catalogue and the other four venues together postponed the exhibit until now."
Those who are counting on the Super Bowl as a chance to see the usually crowded Georgia O'Keeffe show should know that last year (when the Redskins, admittedly, were not on the warpath), the Matisse show was jampacked on Super Bowl Sunday.
Ziglar herself plans to spend this evening at the National Gallery recital of baritone Spyros Sakkas in the East Garden Court of the West Building. "We're coming 45 minutes early, to get a good seat."
Another concert, an organ recital at the Washington Cathedral by Don Ingram of North Quincy, Mass., ends just about when the game begins.
Gretchen Poston, a partner in Washington Inc. events planners, says she's taking her 15-year-old daughter, Katherine, on her ceremonial first trip to New York. "We planned all the right things: the trip to Rockefeller Center, ice skating, shopping. But she insisted that everything had to be arranged to get back to the hotel room at game time. But I may look for a museum that's still open. At home, those who want to watch the game stay in the television room on the lower floor."
Bess and Tyler Abell, having perhaps enjoyed their own food too much at the opening of their new Baltimore restaurant Front Page last Sunday, dutifully left immediately after the party for 150 for the Pritikin Longevity Center in Downingtown, Pa. Tyler Abell, however, said he intends to join his wife in front of the tube tonight (without, of course, salted popcorn or other Pritikin no-nos). He says their restaurant, at 7934 Belair Road, had many early reservations for dinner in front of their 10-by-10-foot television screen.
"But we do have rooms where you won't have to see or listen to the game," Abell said. "My mother, Luvie Pearson, doesn't like football at all."
Not everybody feels it necessary to keep an eye on the ball.