Sunday, February 13, 2011

Super Bowl Journey, the Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly

Before I left for the game, I had to do my traditional manicure with Green & gold nails.

The best way to describe my journey is a day by day account. Each day includes good, bad & ugly!

Day 1-Flight from Portland to Austin. Flight was great on Alaska and the crew was wonderful. We had a stop in San Jose, but for the first time in over 10 years, we did not have to change planes!! What a joy! I got to visit with the crew for a bit. They were all excited for me that I was going to the Super Bowl.

Arrived in Austin about 11:15 CST…Eric was waiting and we headed to Dallas. We realized we were not going to make it all the way so decided to get as far as Waco and get a hotel. We thought we would either get a suite to accommodate all 3 of us or adjoining rooms. So we stopped at a Comfort Suites…a hotel that does not have suites! L So Eric asked for adjoining rooms….they were adjoining all right….across the hall from each other!!!

Day 2 -We did not get to bed until almost 2 so it was 9:30 am before I woke up. When I called down to the front desk to ask the location of the continental breakfast, I was told that the breakfast ended at 9. We were not given that piece of info the night before! OK, well, just get a shower and head out…can get breakfast on the road. Hmmm….cannot figure out how shower works. Call front desk. Oh, there is no water in the showers due to cold weather! Now that seemed a bit odd that just the shower did not work as the sink, and toilet both worked…well in my room anyway. Eric was never able to flush his toilet, but his shower worked!

No shower, no breakfast…..not feeling real happy! But I washed as best I could from the sink, applied make-up and started to pack up things. Imagine my horror when I picked up my overnight bag and there was a dead cockroach underneath it! It was 1.5 – 2 inches long. Not sure if it was dead when I got to the room or I sat my bag on it in the dark and killed it…..did not really care…..just the fact there was a HUGE cockroach!!!! Decided that was the last straw and for the first time in my life I felt I needed to lodge a complaint with corporate. I was promised a response within 72 hours. I was told today that a letter was sent to me on Feb 3, so I will see it when I get home and update this section. **update--Eric called and he got a letter apologizing for no hot water (that was never part of the complaint) and gave him a $10.00 credit on his card for one room. Not I called corporate again, and the lady was shocked that was all we got. She sent $65.00 in cash value coupons for Eric for a future stay...I am quite sure he will choose a different location.**

On the road again…..roads clear until we got about 30 miles out of Dallas. Then we started seeing ice and snow. Dallas had just had the worst snow and ice storm in many years. Our first goal was to get to the ticket brokers to pick up our tickets. I bought my tickets within one hour of the Pack winning the NFC division, so paid premium prices….about 3K per ticket! I had been checking the brokers website and found many tickets in better locations than mine (end zone-lower 4th level). They were also selling for 800 to 1000 less than I paid. In checking I also discovered that my seats were in “temporary” seating. That was not revealed to me when I purchased the tickets and found out solely on my own. The map that was printed to see where the seats were indicated it was permanent seating. So when I arrived at the brokers, I requested an upgrade per their website. I did not want any money back, I just wanted to upgrade to a better location. “Oh, we can’t do that”. Really???? So the upgrade listed on their website was bogus….I will never use Ticket Source again!!!

The cool part of the trip to the brokers was seeing Aaron on the side of Cowboy Stadium!

We arrived at John & Mellissa’s in late afternoon. Had a lovely visit and Melissa fixed us dinner…a delicious pasta dish and garlic bread. Melissa’s mother, Karen had offered to let us stay at her house. She and Melissa were going to be gone to a wedding in Seattle leaving the day after we arrived. It was very kind and gracious of her to offer to let us “house sit”.

Day 3 -Friday we decided to get a 3 day pass to ride the train in order to get around better. This was part of the ugly. After reading the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit )information on the web on where to buy tickets, we set out for the nearest rail stop. We bought our short term tickets and got off at the stop where we were supposed to be able to purchase the passes…there was nothing there!! We hurriedly got back on the train and rode it to the end…Union Station. We figured it was the main terminal so we could probably buy passes there. No, we had to go get on a different train and go back 2 stops to purchase the passes! It was 15 degrees out so now we have had to stand out in the cold to wait for 2 trains. WE get our passes and need to catch either a red or blue line to get back to where we want to go. We catch a red line, but….what….they are not going the direction we need… we get off and wait 20 MINUTES for another train.

By this time we are frozen through and through. Devan is crying because his feet are cold. It did not help that he had taken his shoes off and gotten his socks wet. In order to get to the train we needed, we had to get off at West End and wait in the cold again. NO, we decided to go one more stop and wait INSIDE the Dart station where we had purchased the passes 30 min before.

This time we made sure we got on the right train and arrived at the Convention Center to meet up with Eric’s friend. Fortunately they had picked up the tickets to the NFL experience for us, so we met them at the front door.

It was very cool to be greeted by the Super Bowl logo when we arrived.

The NFL experience was more geared to kids or the young at heart, if not body.

Devan had a great time playing with NFL players on the modified field. He got to participate in 4 different drills and mini games. He was on the field for an hour and had a great time.

We did see a live broad cast of the NFL network. They had their set right next to the playing field. Kurt Warner and 3 other broadcast people did a short segment on the kids playing field.

Kind of fun to watch, except it delayed Devan half an hour getting his turn at the field. This had a direct bearing on the next sequence of events.

It was time to go, so we headed back to the light rail. I had my hand on the door, Devan was on the bottom step and the security made him get off cuz the “train had to leave on time”. We had to wait another 20 min for the next train. When we arrived at Union Station, the stop where we had to get the other train back to our car, we found we had missed it literally by 1 min. We would have made it had we been allowed on the other train. We also would have made it had there not been the half hour delay for Devan to get to the field. The time was just before 9:30 pm. We found there was not going to be another train going our way until 11:05. To further add insult to injury, we also were told that the train did not travel all the way to the stop where our car was parked. The final stop that time of night was 3 stops before it!!! There were about a dozen other people who were in the same predicament. We were not going to wait that long, so Eric called a cab. A lady and her son (Packer fans of course) were also going our way so we decided to share the cab. In just a few minutes, the cab pulled up and rolled down the window…he said he had to go around because there was a DART car behind him and he could not stop. 20 minutes later, he still had not returned!!! WE decided to cross over to the Hyatt hotel and hail a cab there! 15 min later we finally had a cab. We had a nice visit with Leora and her son Jacob. They needed to get all the way to Ft. Worth. It cost us $60 to our destination! WE got home about the time we would have been leaving downtown Dallas on the last train! Nightmare of a day.

Day 4 - On Saturday, we wanted to take in some of the pep rallies and other Packer related activities. Oh yeah, don’t forget the shopping. There was a Wal-Mart across the street from the stadium….I need to insert here that the traffic around the stadium was the worst possible because the local authorities in their infinite wisdom, decided to block off lanes of traffic. No construction, just blocked. You would think with 4 years to prepare for this event, they would have been more organized. Nope… was the worst I have ever seen in a downtown core area…well, this was Arlington, and Dallas was even worse….will get to that in a minute.

We had gotten a later start than wanted so decided to forgo much shopping and just head over to the one Pep Rally we knew about. We arrived to find it gearing up for a great time.

Had lunch and it was good food! We spent some time here meeting up with people I had met on Facebook.

Then we decided to go to another Pep Rally in downtown Dallas where members of the XXXI team were supposed to be. (our original info said they were supposed to be at the FIRST pep rally). It was pretty cool to see another picture of Aaron when we got into Dallas.

When we got downtown Dallas, we found they were rerouting people downtown also. It took us over ½ hour to go 5 blocks…..such poor management. No rhyme nor reason to how traffic was flowing. None of the police seemed to be in sync with any other officers. I saw some of them standing and having a good time…doing nothing. When we finally arrived at the 2nd rally, all of the team members had left. So we took a few pictures and headed for the next adventure.

Ok, well, let’s go to downtown Ft. Worth where ESPN is doing their live broadcasts.

Traffic was not bad at all until we took the exit for the Ft Worth downtown…..and we ground to a dead stop. We decided to make the best of it, rolled down the windows, (this day was in the high 40’s…much nicer than the day before) cranked up the stereo and started playing Packer songs. There were a number of cars with other Packer fans so we took pictures and had a good time. Never partied on the freeway before!

But after ½ hour of going only 1 block, we decided this was not going to be a destination we wanted to visit. We were able to turn around and head home. We needed to stop and get some things at Walmart. We are out North of Ft. Wroth now, and the Walmart had NOTHING super bowl related!! We could not believe it! We bought some snack stuff, stopped at Sonic and headed home!! When we got home and turned on ESPN, we saw why the traffic was so bad. There were thousands of cheering fans surrounding the ESPN broadcast location. We would have never been able to get close enough for the kids to see anything. We were glad of the decision we made.

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY- Eric and I were the only ones going to the game. His friend, Beto, was going to have the 3 kids and take them to a place they could watch the game and play their own games. We just had to figure out how to drop us off and meet up at the end of the game. We returned to the site of the first pep rally the day before. It was about 1.7 miles from the stadium so we figured worst case, we could walk it. To our delight, we found we could get round trip shuttle passes that dropped us off right across the street from the stadium. $20 bucks each! A great deal considering parking was going for $150!

We wanted to participate as much as possible in the pregame stuff so arrived at the stadium about 12:30…one half hour before the gates were to open. The line was already quite long so we visited with other fans. I even met a lady from Wisconsin that was also a season ticket holder who was lucky enough to win the lottery and able to buy her tickets at face value! I was so happy for her. About 1:15, we noticed the line was still not moving. Hmmm…..we found out a few minutes later that the scanning equipment was not operating properly land they had to get permission from the NFL to let us through the gates! Are you kidding??? Finally the line started moving…..but there was no order. People that had arrived in line half hour after us all of a sudden were in front of us! But at least we were traversing through the cattle chutes and headed toward the entrance gates.

Oh wait…..we STOOD still and watched other fans that had arrived at another entrance LONG after we had been in line, let through in front of us! What???? This is seriously messed up! We finally started moving again, only to be stopped short of our goal. We literally were 20-30 people back when our line was stopped again. The line to our left continued to move. And now there were fans arriving OUTSIDE the cattle gates on our right that were being let through by security and the police. Things started getting ugly real fast. By this time we had been in line for over 2 hours! And people just arriving were allowed to go in before us???? There was a lot of shouting at the police. I have been to many games and have never seen such a mess!!

We were able to finally enter the stadium about 3…2.5 hours after arriving.

The first thing I noticed when entering were workmen headed up the stairs with metal pipes and tools. It looked like it was materials/supplies that we had seen were bring used in the “temporary seating”. I thought it odd that they were still working on the seating. We discovered much later that about 1250 seats were deemed “not safe” and 850 ticket holders were relocated while 400 were sent to watch the game on big screen TV’s. Once again, Jerry Jones, you didn’t know there was going to be a Super Bowl???

We arrived at our seats after an extended walk….feeling a bit nervous about “temporary seating” that was that high off the ground. I was grateful to be in my seat at last; I just hoped we would not be one of those shots you see on TV of the whole bleachers collapsing! We watched the next 2 hours of pregame activities, players on the field, some broadcast done from the section just over to our right, and just soaked up the experience. We were at the SUPER BOWL.

GAME TIME – A young lady from the cast of Glee sang America the Beautiful. She did an amazing rendition of the song.............

The National Anthem was sung by Christina Aguilera….oh my gosh!! I thought her appearance left something to be desired. She looked like she had not combed her hair and the dress was anything but flattering. And she did her own “version”, including changing the words!

Are you serious…she could not even remember the lyrics to the National Anthem!! And her rendition was not much better than the one Roseanne Barr received so much grief over. It seems that the NFL should be able to direct singers how the National Anthem, they regulate everything else. The National anthem should be sung with respect! This was anything but respectful.

This is respect……

The Packers won the coin toss and deferred just as Aaron had said he would earlier in the week!

The game went by so fast, I was genuinely surprised. When the Pack scored first and then immediately scored again on a defensive interception and touchdown, we went wild. The first half went the Packers way. Score 21-3 at the half.

Half time entertainment was fun…we could not hear very well though.

The Steelers came back hard in the 3rd qtr and got within 3 points in the 4th qtr. The Steelers defense held the Pack to a FG to give them a 6 point lead. We were on the edge of our seats.

Two minutes left, Ben Roethlisberger, oh my.
But the Defense did their job; they stopped the drive on 4th and 5 with 49 seconds left to play!

2 kneel downs and it was over……

The Packers are SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD! The Lombardi trophy was headed home to Green Bay where it belonged! We stayed to watch the presentation of the trophy and did some more cheering…my voice was quite hoarse by this time.

We had done it. We had witnessed the Packers reaching their goal…..4th Super Bowl trophy and 13 World Championships! The game made all of the other stuff fade away. It was a story to be told at a later time…..

1 comment:

  1. Well, no one said it would be easy, the Packers had a bunch of bumps on the road to get there too, so it is only fair that you have a few unfair penalties fumbles and interceptions too. What counts is that you stuck it out, made those important plays and got to support and witness your team win the trophy.