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Super Bowl at Large : And Now, a Special Blessing for the Boys Who Pass the Pigskin

SUPER BOWL AT LARGE: This is the fifth of nine daily "Super Bowl at Large" columns giving glimpses of people and pageantry, happenings and hoopla during Super Bowl week in San Diego.

January 29, 1988|TOM GORMAN

Monsignor Brent Eagen, who celebrates Mass for the Chargers during the regular season, was drafted to celebrate Mass and offer a sermon to the Denver Broncos on Sunday morning at the La Jolla Marriott.

Appropriate enough; he's already been exposed to Broncomania, which has even infiltrated funerals. He returned home this week from attending his own uncle's funeral, in which the local priest began his eulogy: "John would be pleased as spit that his nephew will be offering Mass for the Broncos."

Eagen said he would use appropriate Scripture readings to inspire the Broncos to play courageously--and would pray for a Bronco victory.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with that," he said. "I do that for the Chargers--although I've gotten a few notes in the collection basket (at Mission San Diego, where he is pastor) saying I shouldn't ask the Lord to take sides."

At least Eagen is remaining true to the AFC, and he's already been rewarded with his stipend: a ticket to the game.

The Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce sent out a tip sheet advising merchants and businessmen on the best way to celebrate Super Bowl XXII and tonight's downtown party.

Under the listing "Best thing super employers downtown can do" was this sound advice: "Let downtown workers off early Friday to take in the party. 3-4 p.m. would be fine."

Noon would be even finer.

There were maybe 500 journalists at the Denver Broncos' press conference Thursday morning at the San Diego Marriott--and one of them almost turned more heads than John Elway.

Meet Dawn Rae Azar, reporter for the Marquee.

The what?

It's the student newspaper at Mira Mesa High School, and 17-year-old senior Azar crashed the news conference. Her press pass was gumption.

Azar said the NFL politely rejected her request for credentials for access to the press tent, so she showed up outside the media tent and talked to players as they filed in. She caught the attention of a Broncos public relations man, who invited her to be his guest inside.

Part way through Elway's press conference, Azar suddenly started attracting more attention than the Denver quarterback.

"I hoped to get a scoop for my newspaper and suddenly I became the scoop," Azar said. "People started wanting to interview me and I said, 'Do you mind if I finish first with Elway?' When you're trying to get a scoop, you don't need other people bothering you."

She said she was a bit disillusioned after her exposure to the nation's sportswriters.

One reporter, she said, asked her if she was in Elway's room that morning. "They all seemed to be looking for scandal, to blow things out of proportion." Her advice to the writers: "Think about the athlete as a person, a human being, and how he feels."

So, any scoops? "Read about it in the Marquee," she said.

On today's lunch menu for the San Diego City Schools:

Super Dog, Potato 'Skins, Field Goal Salad, Touchdown Fruit and Lightning-Bolt Milk.

So you see, the San Diego Chargers haven't been forgotten this week.

Celebrated sand sculptor Gerry Kirk and a crew of 12 are busily finishing up four projects around town for this weekend, including a centerpiece at the entrance to the Hospitality Village tent city at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

That work of art, evolving out of 250 tons of sand, will depict various San Diego scenes, ranging from the Balboa Park tower and the Point Loma Lighthouse to Hotel del Coronado and the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

Kirk, whose Sand Sculptors International has carved a worldwide reputation for itself, said he couldn't disclose who had hired him to create the three other works--at least one of which will be in a corporate hospitality tent at the stadium.

"I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement," he said. "It's the first time I've ever been asked to do that. Part of the mystique of the week, I guess."

It was another public viewing day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the stadium. But apparently some people are more public than others.

A news crew from KCST-TV (Channel 39) was barred entry to the stadium to do a report on the public viewing, even as thousands of people filed in for a peek. The crew was told to come back between 4 and 5 p.m., when TV crews are allowed in; free access to the stadium is only given to ABC-TV, which has the broadcast rights for the game.

"I suppose I could have sent in a crew with a home video camera and have gotten all the video I want," KCST assignment editor Eric Hulnick groused.

(Not that KCST was totally out in left field. On Wednesday, a security guard friendly with the station sneaked the crew the proper color-coded wristbands for access.)

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