On this date in 1999, the features section ran a story recalling the year an amazing series of circumstances (a hurricane, an earthquake and terrorism threats) led to the Super Bowl being held in Spokane.
In my estimation, I made it quite clear that this never really happened. The piece was all in fun.
And yet, several readers subsequently phoned me and noted that I never specified what year that had taken place. “When did it happen?” they asked.
Fifteen years later, I am still flabbergasted by that.
See if you would have picked up on the ample clues I offered that the story – “Spokane was Super-Duper” – was presented in the spirit of an early April Fool’s joke.
“Remember how it all seemed so unbelievable?” I asked in the second paragraph.
“You just couldn’t make up a more unlikely scenario,” read the sixth paragraph.
Then, right after that: “It has been only a few years now. But sometimes, looking back, it all seems as if it was a feverish dream.”
Of course, some of it apparently rang true to a few readers.
“For perhaps the only occasion in history, saying ‘I’m going to Spokane’ dripped with cultural cachet. Sure, Newsweek called Spokane ‘Hicksville.’ The Chicago Tribune said our civic motto was ‘Thank God it’s Monday.’ The L.A. Times called us ‘Laid-Back-Back-Back.’ A locater map in the New York Times placed the city about 10 miles from Yakima. And Sports Illustrated dubbed the hoopla surrounding the game ‘Bingtown’s Big Bore.’ ”
And so on. “Then there was the CBS executive who offered to pay to fix the potholes if Bloomsday and Hoopfest could be moved to the Saturday before the game. Or what about Kathie Lee Gifford getting thrown out of the Cheney Cowles Museum for making too much noise? Never before had this city seen an infusion of showbiz leeches and corporate expense-account partiers like that.”
At the very least, the last sentence should have made it all quite clear.
“Why, to hear some people talk, you would think the Super Bowl in Spokane never really happened.”
Today’s Slice question: How did becoming a grandparent change you?