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MACHO MADNESS Don't Cross This Line
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The Super Bowl marks the end of - as my wife Donnelle refers to it - the Great Eating Trilogy. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Super Bowl. Those three events mark the highlights of the culinary year in our household.

Long before the game that marks the end of the NFL season became a sort of national holiday, it became a big deal in our household. Not on my account, though; I've also been somewhat ambivalent about the NFL, preferring college sports.

Donnelle, on the other hand, is kind of nuts. And being a 49er fan, she was especially in her element during the years the Niners were contending for - and playing in - the Super Bowl.

I knew this going in; the Niners won Super Bowl XVI not long after we were married.

But she was truly in all her glory during the years San Francisco won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

Donnelle has always enjoyed cooking, and she always outdoes herself when she prepares a Super Bowl spread. But the bottom line for her is the game; a rabid fan, she's not going to miss a play.

By 1989, in addition to our two young children, Donnelle's brother and sister also had kids about the same age. We usually hosted the Super Bowl parties, so we were expecting a houseful with all three families in addition to my in-laws. While Donnelle was excited about the game, she was also a little concerned about the kids wandering in front of the TV.

This, of course, was long before the days of Tivo or DVRs, so if you missed a touchdown, you were at the mercy of the network showing the game to provide a replay.

And with six little kids roving around the room during the game, the chances of interrupted viewing were pretty high.

"Don't worry about it," I told her. "As long as they don't block the TV during the commercials, I'm good."

I really like the Super Bowl commercials.

Donnelle wasn't very reassured by my comment, and she fretted for a few days. The morning of the game, however, she came upon a solution.

I woke up, and when I came into the family room I saw masking tape on the floor around the TV. The viewing area from the couches and chairs to the TV had been taped off and marked off limits, leaving a small path to enter and exit the room.

I've seen crime scenes that weren't protected as well as that TV.

"Um, why is there tape on the floor, hon?"

One time Donnelle had me, with the help of a neighbor, carry the TV out to the driveway for a Monday Night Football game the 49ers were playing in. Actually, make that two neighbors; it wasn't a small TV. We were having a block party, and she thought the game would add to the festivities. It did, for all the guys - and Donnelle - who spent the rest of evening watching the game.

Not sure how the rest of the moms on the block felt about it, though.

So seeing the tape on the floor, I wasn't sure what kind of plan she had come up with.

"It's so the kids know where not to go," she answered, proud of her invention.

It was pretty ingenious; clear lines of viewing, paths to the snack table, a path to the restroom.

By the time everyone arrived, the lines of doom got great reviews from Donnelle's sister - also a 49er fanatic - and most everyone else. Even the kids liked it, although my young nephew would stand with his feet over the line, daring someone to tell him to get back. (I always liked that about him).

The lines of doom came out every Super Bowl after that, and became something of a family legend. Although it has been years since Donnelle has had to put tape down, we'll still have our kids or my nephew or one of my nieces refer to it every now and then.

Of course, with our granddaughter Madeline preparing to begin walking in a few months, it might be time for the tape to come out again.

Then again, something tells me Donnelle won't be paying much attention to a football game with Madeline in the house...

Craig Macho is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.