So, I went to my first professional football game last night. Thanks to my pal Cathy, I got a free ticket to go with her to the Giants/Bears game at the Meadowlands. Needless to say - but then why am I saying it? - I was pretty excited.
Now, some of you may know that I enjoy watching pro football on TV, and that the Giants have been my home team from way back, even if I haven't always loved the roster at the time. (Kerry Collins? Puh-lease.) But you probably don't know what a bummer it's been since my friend Lee left the big city, and I discovered that NOT ONE of my friends had the slightest bit of interest in football. In fact, most of them harbour an active dislike of it. Including my beloved M, who, thankfully, has grown to be at least accepting of my need to catch a game now and then.
So, you can imagine how stoked I was to find out that not only did Jessy's gf Cathy, who I haven't had a chance to get to know very much yet, not only likes football (she did come to watch the Super Bowl with us last year, although Jessy and M were blatantly bored with the whole thing), but had free tickets to see the Giants! As my dear friend the Kool-Aid pitcher once said, "Oh yeeeaaaahhhh!"
Anyway, we met at Port Authority, which has been cleaned up considerably since the old days, and boarded the bus for the stadium. Let me just pause to tell you that the ride to and from Giants stadium on NJ Transit? Cheap, clean and unbelievably fast. If you are thinking of driving out there, don't do it. You may have to wait on line at the end of the game to catch the bus back, but unless it's pouring or freezing out, it's totally worth it.
At the stadium, although other people were getting patted down, I was deemed non-frisk worthy (should've brought them chickens, man!) but card-worthy for a beer, which is not surprising, having caucasian skin and a face like a Cabbage Patch doll. That beer, like everything else, was woefully overpriced, though that didn't stop me from buying way too many artery-clogging snacks. Not that I expected anything to be cheap - I know how these things work. I just didn't expect to get so damn ravenous. I think that screaming and being outside, combined with the smell of frying grease, just overstimulates the hunger center of one's brain. That, and maybe being out from under the eye of my semi-vegan, healthy significant other for a few hours. And subliminal messaging. Yeah, that's the ticket.
So, we settled in for the game with some refreshments and a bit of banter with the folks around us, including Giants and Bears fans. Everyone was quite friendly, no matter what side they were rooting for - probably because if you can somehow get tickets to the usually-sold-out-for-generations Giants stadium, you're feeling pretty good. Or maybe it was the MSG. Anyway, our view looked something like this:
Except for, like, a lot more people in it. We actually could see more just by, you know, turning our heads, but you get the idea. I had thought from watching television that we'd be so far back the players would look like little ants, but it was a surprisingly clear and close view of everything we needed to see, especially with binoculars and jumbtrons as back-up.
I took a minute to take in the stunning sunset over New Jersey that streaked the clouds bright red, and watch the 9 million gulls soar by (all gathered there to raid the tail gate parties or the stands afterwards - glad I'm not Tippi Hedren), and then called up my brother to gloat.
"Hey, Andy. Guess where I'm calling you from?"
"Uh, I dunno."
He tried to show me up by saying he has DirecTV NFL season pass and TiVO, but I'm not buying.
After that, we watched the players run back off the field only to make a big show of running back on the field (who started all that?), listened to a Marine core officer Whitney-fy the hell out of the national anthem, and then began the game. Which went pretty much like this:
I mean, I'm used to it. The only pro games I've been to in the past featured the NY Liberty, who also tend to lead in the beginning and then fail miserably, and The Mets, which...you know. Still, I couldn't help wondering if I hadn't brought my own little piece of bad luck there to the home team. I mean, Kurt Warner looked blind out there. I don't know what happened. I'm telling you, I'm not the kind of person to say "I could have done better than him," because I couldn't. It's obvious I'd be killed or maimed for life. But somebody could have. Or, at least, Warner on a good day. Maybe. Sigh.
Of course, my beloved Tiki looked like this.
Oops! I meant, like this:
And yes, I think Jeremy Shockey is an over-rated redneck, why do you ask?
So that was my experience. Not so good for the tummy, but a really great time. It's true what they say, that you just can't duplicate the feeling of seeing the game in person elsewhere. Heck, if I could sit through the Mets... well, you get the idea.
So, if anyone else gets any tickets to another Giants or Jets game and wants to take me, I'm there. In the meantime, it's back to hiding my snacks and watching games on televsion by myself. In the corner. In the dark.