On December 24, we both were super-excited to go the the Dallas/Seattle game (my first live game, John’s second). We parked almost one mile from the stadium, and took a very brisk and chilly walk to the stadium. It was so cold I had a scarf around my face, a touque and a hoodie, plus I was wearing leggings under jeans (like long-johns!).
Once we got to the stadium parking lot, the chill was easier to forget. There were tailgaters everywhere, and barbeques, beer, blankets and music all over. I had no idea that some folks have a full-day tailgate party at their trailer/food truck/tent, and then just watch the game on their little tv or listen on radios – – the roar of the live crowd must be enough excitement. Plus, they had heaters.
As we got closer to the building, we could see a crowd had built up near and around the barricades put up near a certain entrance – the players’ entrance! It looked like what I’ve seen on entertainment news, where people scream the players’ names, clap and hoot, and hold out their hands for a touch from the famous. Of course I didn’t know anyone, but John knew who everyone was the moment they stepped out of their cars. In fact, sometimes the car gave them away. As they walked a non-existent carpet through a barricade alley, the screams would start each time. Players were dressed in jackets, sometimes parted with hugs to their children and wives, or parents, who were whisked away to another door, and then either ignored the crowd, or hugged their fans.
We had a few good laughs when we heard, “Hey, Taco, where’s your brother, Burrito?”, and “Taco, your jacket inspires me”. The photos I got are not great, but they may convey the excitement of the crowd, even when the player is not easy to ID at first glance. Football fans will likely be able to name everyone, no matter how poor the picture.
When we finally entered the stadium, I must have looked like a kid at Disneyland. It was so huge, so bright, so fun, so loud – but in a party/excitement way. The vibe was addictive, and I’m not even a proper NFL fan!
After gawking at the food and beverage prices (one drink for $13, anyone?), we found our seats and then wandered a bit more. It was so bright and loud, and full of excitement and anticipation.
Back in our seats, the game began. Since I’m not a major fan, but wasn’t about to ruin John’s fun, I made sure to make friends with our seat mates. There were 3 boys in front of us, around 13 years old, a couple behind us (whose best friend plays on the Seahawks!), and a cute girl of 6 and her dad next to me. She was fully dressed in a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader costume, white boots included. I learned her mama used to be a cheerleader! Her little 3-yr old brother knew when to yell “get himmmmmmm”, and “nooooooo”, and was amazingly paying attention to the game like a little adult!
Well, the Cowboys lost the game, but it really didn’t matter. The experience was once-in-a-lifetime for me (let’s not spend that much money on a non-fan again, ok?), and I could easily see what was so thrilling for true fans.