It's the morning after.
The Super Bowl, that it.
And by now, the Internet is abuzz with various commentary on what happened last night -- or didn't -- and employees everywhere have already gathered around their office water coolers to debate the game's best commercials.
Because that's what we do after the biggest day in American sports.
My husband Scott, however, had a much different morning-after-the-Super-Bowl experience several years ago.
Of course, that is to be expected when you wake up at a military base in Bosnia or in a hotel room in Bahrain.
But, first, some background.
It technically all started when, in 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO) was launched with the mission to bring a touch of home to America's military personnel and their families during peace and war. (A not-for-profit, the USO receives no direct government funding and is supported by contributions from individuals and corporate donors, United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign.)
A mere three months after the USO was founded, Bob Hope led a group of celebrities to perform for airmen stationed at March Field (now March Air Force Base) in California.
Then, in 1966, the NFL was brought into the fold.
Looking for a way to demonstrate the NFL's support for America's fighting forces in Vietnam, then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle conceived the idea of sending NFL players to Vietnam on "goodwill tours" to visit U.S. troops.
The NFL became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of the Far East.
Since then, active and retired NFL players and coaches have made numerous USO tours visiting troops in such locations as Somalia, Bosnia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Kuwait.
Now back to Scott.
The year was 2000, and Scott, who had retired from his career as a Detroit Lions offensive lineman three years prior, was invited to participate in Operation Super Bowl Bosnia -- in Bosnia -- and the objective of this tour, as with any celebrity tour -- was for the NFL players involved to meet and talk with as many troops as possible.
Here's a summary of Scott's experience -- in his own words...
En route to Bosnia, we traveled on a military cargo plane while wearing military travel attire, and when we arrived, I got a chance to experience military life on base. I slept in army barracks, ate in the mess hall, and showered in their facilities. It was a true army experience...
Before the Super Bowl party, I toured the base and conversed with an array of troops who also represented other countries, in addition to the United States...
Watching the Super Bowl with the men and women of our armed forces was particularly fun because they were from all over our country -- fans who represented virtually all 32 NFL teams, including Lions fans! But they all had one thing in common: A genuine love of the game. We're talking about true die-hard fans, here...
They appreciated everything we as players put into the game in order for them to enjoy it. But, actually, they are really the true heroes and warriors. I felt proud to be there with them because our presence kind of gave them a piece of home -- even though they were so far away. And some of them even articulated this to me, that watching our games was such a comfort for them...
It was an honor to watch one of the world's greatest sporting events in the company of the men and women who serve and protect this country and afford us the opportunity to play this game that we love.
Scott also participated in a similar USO tour in Bahrain during the next Super Bowl in 2001.
Here are some photo highlights of his tours:
Thank you to all the men and women of our armed forces for all that you do!
For a complete history of NFL players and coaches on USO tours, please click here.