Louise Stanger is a speaker, educator, licensed clinician, social worker, certified daring way facilitator and interventionist who uses an invitational intervention approach to work with complicated mental health, substance abuse, chronic pain and process addiction clients.
The annual Super Bowl is here again – America’s most watched televised event – and that means Americans will consume truck loads of guacamole, bean dip and chicken wings. And just because it’s the cultural norm to drinks lots of beer, doesn’t mean safety and responsibility are left on the table like the vegetable tray nobody wants to eat.
According to Men’s Fitness, Americans drink 325.5 million gallons of beer on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s about one gallon of beer per American or roughly ten cans. Of course millions of Americans are children or simply don’t drink, so that gives you a picturesque idea of the overwhelming amount of alcohol consumed per person on the day dedicated to football.
With spirits high and blood alcohol concentration rates even higher, the unfortunate truth is that “every 52 minutes someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. And nearly 300,000 people drive drunk every day.” One can only imagine how dangerous the highway is after the game concludes and millions flock to their cars to go home.
Another issue which some believe is a myth is that domestic violence incidents increase on super bowl Sunday due to liquor flowing and tempers flaring at the drop of a touchdown or fumble. If you review the research, though, you won’t find any data to suggest a Super Bowl spike. What the research shows is Domestic violence is a crisis for millions every single day. Every minute, 20 people are victims of intimate partner violence. Every day, three women die from it. In their lifetimes, one out of every four women in the United States will be victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. So when you combine machismo with sports there is that risk according to Martha Bergmark, the Executive Director of Voices for Civil Justice. Still, for Super Bowl Sunday, it’s good to know these facts and be vigilant about safety.
Another activity that spikes on the day of the big game is gambling. In fact, game betting has massive mainstream appeal, as stories flood the news wires about the Super Bowl odds and who Las Vegas thinks will win. Betters even take it so far as to wager on the success of the halftime show, national anthem and color of the Gatorade bath for the game winning coach. For Super Bowl LI, $138.5 million was bet in the state of Nevada alone “and an estimated $4.7 billion in wagers on the NFL finale in the United States alone, through online shops and illegal bookie operations.”
Americans can choose to be safe on Super Bowl Sunday. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some facts – as explored in Forbes Magazine – about one of the biggest drinking days of the year.
BAC or blood alcohol concentration measures the amount of alcohol in the body. 0.08 is the legal limit individuals who have consumed alcohol may drive under the influence. This is roughly 3-4 drinks for a man and 2-3 drinks for a woman, depending on weight, on average. A thin, short woman may only have one drink and reach the limit while a larger, taller man may drink up 5 drinks to reach the legal limit.
In 2014, the national BAC average across the country was 0.091, well over the limit. To put that into perspective with other heavy drinking holidays and events, the average for New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day is 0.094 and 0.09 on Cinco de Mayo.
Don’t think 0.08 BAC is the appropriate level to measure drunk driving? According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21 percent of fatal car crashes resulted in drivers who had a 0.08 BAC or higher. The key here is to have a designated driver or Uber home when the game is over.
Studies show that ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are making an impact in reducing the number of drunk driving traffic accidents. In fact, not only does peak Uber and Lyft usage coincide with peak drinking, a study in California found that drunk driving accidents declined by nearly 60 cases monthly, compared to years before the ride sharing app made its debut.
This Super Bowl Sunday you can have a great time and party without regrets. There are hundreds of ideas for delicious game food ideas at delish.com from football pizza bombs to nonalcoholic Big Game touchdown punch made with lime sherbet. No matter who you are rooting for you create custom treats for your guests. For Patriots fans fill the room with New England Clam Chowder and Boston Cream Pies, Frosted Cupcakes with the team logo and New England Patriot Pretzels. For the Philadelphia Eagles be sure and serve Philly Cheese Steaks, Eagles Spicy Meatballs and for dessert try some Philadelphia Eagles Popcorn and Philadelphia Eagles Chocolate Chip Cookies.
In addition to making fun non alcoholic drinks, if you or your party do decide to drink, here are a few tips:
Make sure you have a case of water by the exit door
Have people place their keys in a central location
Be like the large stadiums and cut off drinking after the third quarter
If you have hired a bartender or you have taken that on take a quick course in responsible beverage service
If someone becomes too inebriated invite them to stay the night on your couch or have an extra sleeping bag or send them home with Uber or Lyft
Having been married to an athlete and former athletic director, I have learned a lot about sports and how pulverizing, pulsating and exciting a game be. As a clinician and social worker with years of experience, I also know that safe and responsible fun is doable and possible. Planning a super bowl party that supports the health and wellness of your guests a can be creative and inspiring,
Whether you are an Eagles or a Patriots fan I trust your team wins big, you picked the MVP and that betting, misuse of alcohol and unruly behaviors (i.e. domestic violence) do not pass your door.
Go Team Go!
To learn more about Louise Stanger and her interventions and other resources, visit her website.