I am not what you would call a sport’s fan. I can’t quote positions and stats but I can follow along with the basics and even make small talk if need be. I grew up on northern New Jersey (Bergen County) and lived 15 minutes from what used to be called “Giant’s stadium”.
My brother played football in high school but I just never understood the game. I get the premise but that is about it. It has been explained to me hundreds of times over the years but I have developed some sort of mental block on the topic.
My entire family are Giant’s fans and I have some fond memories of past Superbowls spent at my aunt’s house watching the game – my favorite being Superbowl XXV when my uncle attempted to put a curse on the Bills kicker during the final seconds of the game. It was a curse passed down from his father and, say what you want, it worked and the Giant’s won 20-19.
The husband also grew up in a Giant’s family and we are more “Bandwagon Fans” around playoff time. That’s when our true blue colors come out and we actually watch the games on tv.
Anyway, this past week I was offered a pair of tickets to see the Giant’s play Tampa Bay at Giant’s stadium. Really??! Me actually see a Giant’s game in person? Sold!!
I got my parking pass online (holy crap was that expensive), I ran out to Modells to get a t-shirt, and Sunday morning I was at the Shop Rite Liquors at 10am to prepare for the tailgate (it was just the husband and me). By 10:20 the husband and I were on the NJ Turnpike headin’ north (yay!!) and we were excited. No kids, beautiful weather and a Giant’s game – life was good.
The husband and I were a little nervous about tailgating alone, can you really even consider it a tailgate if it is just 2 people? I had asked some true tailgaters that I work with and was told that as long as alcohol is involved you have a tailgate. Well, if that was the case the husband and I were good since our cooler consisterd of Jose Cuervo margaritas, Yuenglings and a bag of Tostitos.
We got to the MetLife Stadium around 11:30 and found a spot pretty quickly – though some other tailgaters had to move their chairs so we could park. Within minutes I had poured the drinks, opened the Tostitos and began people watching. O-M-G was all I could say.
Tailgating is a sport, not a hobby, and it is taken VERY seriously. There were Weber grills, pop-ups tents, trailers with 50-in flat screens and buses scattered throughout Section J. Families of all ages were drinking cocktails, eating and tossing a football and it was SO fun.
Thank god I had gone to Modells since EVERYONE was wearing some type of Giant’s clothing. Jerseys with “10” and “Cruz” blanketed the lot. Some of the “women” there also took their team pride to a new level with their tiny shorts or skin-tight leggings and my favorite, the headband made out of red, white and blue streamers.
However, I most enjoyed watching the men with their grills. Whether it was an elaborate grill or a tiny, camping grill these men meant business. The care and skill they used to make burgers etc. was almost funny. I swear it took longer to set up then it did to actually cook. I guess it is true what they say about men and their toys. The husband made friends with the two 20-somethings next to us and even got himself a sausage sandwich
It was a 1pm game and so the husband and I soon made our way to our seats (Section 128 – nice!) and got ourselves situated. I must admit, watching a football game in person is 100x better than watching it on tv. The excitement, and commentary, from the crowd is amazing and I never got bored. Though I am not football expert I caught on pretty quickly when to stand and cheer or clap and scream DE-FENSE.
There was a group of 5 guys sitting behind us and they kept me entertained the entire game. Whether they were talking about the price of beer ($11 for Guinness), shouting out plays, cheering on certain players (Nicks and Cruz) or having a serious discussion on why Eli is NOT his brother it was entertainment at it’s best.
The Giant’s were loosing after half time and the husband and I debated leaving to beat the traffic. Nah, let’s just stay a little longer, we’ll never get tickets again, I said. Well for once we made the right choice and we watched the Giants beat the Bucs 41-34. Everything happened within the last 5 minutes and it was really amazing. The husband was the official high-fiver and the crowd was on fire!On the ride home I kept replaying the day’s events in my head. Everything was perfect from the weather to the game it was a good day. I don’t know if I will become a football fanatic but I can appreciate the fans’ love of the game. Who knows, maybe someday I will even understand the concept.
ps – Sadly, Eli never saw me in the stands 😦