SEMBACH, Germany -- Trivia, pizza, staff awards, football memories, “commercial breaks” and good natured banter about the merits of various teams were all elements of the Installation Management Command Directorate-Europe Super Bowl Pre-Game Show broadcast to staff Feb. 5 from its headquarters in Sembach.
Usually staff have an annual get-together, but to meet COVID-19 mitigation measures this year staff gathered in small groups and connected with those teleworking and the larger organization via a virtual platform.
Visual Information Services Europe prerecorded the main show which included interviews and commentary by IMCOM-Europe senior leaders who kicked off the event talking about the meaning of the game and some of their best memories.
It’s more than just a game, Tommy Mize, IMCOM-Europe director said to the virtual viewers. It’s also about the gatherings, the commercials, the halftime show, and in some cases, a tie to home.
IMCOM-Europe Deputy Director Col. Steven Pierce said football was a part of life growing up in Oklahoma where he started playing in second grade.
“The Super Bowl was something special we did as a family,” Pierce said.
Mize recalled listening to a Super Bowl on the radio while deployed during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
“It was kind of a surreal thing sitting around in a tent in the middle of the desert and listening to the game,” he said.
Another memory wasn’t of the game. “I can’t remember who played,” Mize said, but he did remember who sang the national anthem – Whitney Houston.
“Just hearing her sing the national anthem before the start of the game given where we were and what we were doing and all the trials and tribulations we were going through at the time was really pretty remarkable,” Mize said.
“It’s always tough with the time difference but everyone was always willing to stay up to watch the big game, and it brought a lot of joy,” Pierce recalled of watching the big game while deployed to Afghanistan. “A little piece of home for those of us far away.”
Throughout the pre-game show, staff chimed in via the virtual chat with their own memories, commentary and predicted winners. During the “commercial breaks,” they shared Super Bowl recipes for drinks and snacks, and answered trivia questions for prizes to be awarded at the end of the event. Several on-air guests shared their football predictions and recalled past Super Bowl wins and losses.
Employees were also recognized during the event including the Players of the Week, Players of the Year, the Team of the Quarter, and those new to and departing the organization. While the pre-recorded show played, the command team was able to visit each staff section throughout the headquarters building.
This year in Europe, that “little piece of home” will be broadcast at 12:30 a.m. Feb. 8, and many will get up early – or stay up late – to watch the big game.