By Sgt. Julie Jaeger, 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera)
More than 45 service members celebrated the 53rd annual Super Bowl on Sunday at the Fort Meade USO Center with free refreshments and lots of cheering.
The center provided food and fun to engage the clash between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.
“I’m having a blast,” said Sgt. Michael Johnson of the 310th Military Intelligence Battalion.
Better Opportunities for Single Service Members sponsored the annual event in partnership with the Fort Meade USO.
“We want to give them an opportunity to get together in a safe environment and just have fun,” said Sgt. Kiyanna Hamamura of the 741st MI Battalion, the BOSS president. “It was definitely fun.”
The USO has hosted a Super Bowl Party for the Fort Meade community for at least five years.
“It’s a great way to come together and watch the game,” said Melyssa Haubenstricker, USO supervisor.
BOSS provided pizza, chicken wings, potato chips, cupcakes and cookies.
The USO heightened the excitement with raffle prizes during each of the 20 commericals. Winners won $10 gift cards to such venues as Chipotle and Regal Cinemas.
“They had a wide variety of prizes that anyone would love,” said Hammamura, who won a $10 Amazon gift card. “Having a giveaway every commercial break gives lots of people a chance to win something and keeps everyone interactive.”
Prizes were also presented to the top-two winners of the Super Bowl contest. Contestants filled out forms with 30 questions such as: Who will win? Who will score the most touchdowns?
The first-place prize was an iPad mini. The second-place prize was a hoverboard.
Early in the spirited game, Pfc. Keven Cortes of the 782nd MI Battalion rooted for the Eagles.
“The Patriots keep winning and it’s getting annoying!” he said. “Having the Eagles win would be refreshing.”
Despite the Patriots’ fourth-quarter comeback, the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33, winning its first-ever title. The room broke into cheers and applause.
Johnson, an Eagles fan since he was 15, enjoyed the camaraderie as he cheered on his team.
“[I’m] grateful to have a place to watch the Super Bowl among friends,” he said.