December 20, 2008; Irving, Texas; Last game ever at Texas Stadium
Blame it on the babysitter.
That's what I say. He's the reason H and I are driving around in endless circles outside Texas Stadium looking for parking on a COLD December day. Isn't it supposed to be hot in Texas? Our tickets to the last game at Texas Stadium are still in New York with our friends. For that, I blame US Air.
All we have with us is a faxed copy of our 25 yard line tickets and a prayer.
H is the biggest Cowboys fan you'll ever meet. The babysitter - a guy named Doug - was a Cowboys fan and he babysat the whole neighborhood, including H and his sister (who, today, is also a fanatic). And that's how it all started. One influential babysitter, who cannot be found on Facebook despite several attempts, doesn't even know the legacy of Cowboy fans he has created. And, now, that includes me.
Before I met H, I didn't know what a first down was. This is confusing. Isn't the point to get a touchdown?
But, not anymore. I blame osmosis, Marion Barber and Doug, the babysitter. Not necessarily in that order.
Was that me who just stood up and screamed "GO!?" Is this what it feels like to care about football? This is fun. Do people know about this, football?
So, there we were. Would our friends make it by half time at least? Would a faxed copy of our tickets do the trick? As it turns out, no, a faxed copy of your tickets will not get you through the gates. But, the day took a magical turn we never expected.
As we were walking through the parking lot, H ran into a friend he worked with a few years ago. (Yes, in the parking lot! Of Texas Stadium! At the last game ever!)
The friend is actually an old Cowboy who played in the 1980's and whose identity shall be protected because of the rules he broke for us. He took one look at our fax and did all he could to make sure we didn't end up listening to the game on the radio in the parking lot.
Past the security guards, into the stadium club and later in a suite, H and I turned to each other. "We don't even have tickets to this game and we're in a suite!" And, since it was the last game at Texas Stadium, H got to meet all of his childhood heroes.
And then … the Cowboys proceeded to lose that game. It stunk. I hate being a fan. I hate you, Doug the Babysitter! I’m done!
But, because it was the last game at Texas Stadium, there were fireworks and as the fireworks went off to the sound of plays called over the past thirty years, I felt this salty wetness by my eyes. Tears? I'm crying? Over FOOTBALL? The truth is that being a fan is involuntary. You can't really help it. There is no one to blame.
So, Doug, you're off the hook, I suppose. I only hate you a little.
As for our friends stuck in New York with our tickets, their flight was canceled because of a pigeon on the plane. A pigeon! Must have been planted by one of those evil Giants fans.
Today, I am grateful ~
1/ That, who would have thought, I now know the joy of being a football fan.
2/ And, the agony too. But, there’s always hope, a/k/a next season.
3/ And, for that night ~ proof that a game – and day – can turn around at any moment.
Follow me and my yearlong project, Stop and Blog the Roses, on Twitter @fernronay and on Facebook here.