I am getting ohsoexcited for football season which is quickly approaching! We've already made plans to visit Leslie in Indy for the Nov. 2nd Colts/49ers game and my brother in Atlanta on Dec. 6th for the Eagles/Falcons game. I thought I'd share the story about the Tennessee Titans game we went to on New Years Eve back in 2006.
Before I moved here, I was traveling out here pretty often and I managed to get the week after Christmas off. Howard knows me pretty well and figured out that getting me tickets to the Titans/Patriots game instead of some piece of jewelry I will never wear for Christmas was the key to my heart. He had it all planned out. The game was on New Years Eve at 12 pm. We drove down to Nashville early that morning to check into our hotel first. It took some effort but we finally found the hotel. We decided to ask about transportation to the stadium so we could both have some drinks. The front desk clerk informed us we could catch a bus about 1/2 mile down the road that would take us right to the game. Score!
So we threw our bags in the room and headed off to the bus stop. It is then we realized that we might not be in the best part of town. A man (read: crack head) walked up to us and says, "You smoke?" to which Howard replies, "Cigarettes?" Nope. "No, you smoke crack?" Howard quickly said we don't smoke anything and we continued walking (a really, really fast walk...ok, possibly sprinting). We then see a girl (read: crack head) about our age run out into the road, narrowly missing being hit by a car, and up to our new friend. Wonder what that was about.
We made it to the bus stop in time to barely catch the bus. There weren't any seats available so Howard and I had to stand in the middle holding the rails. Once we were moving, I began to look around and survey the scene. The man sitting in the chair next to where I was standing was drooling. The woman behind him was talking in loud mumbles to herself. Howard nudged me and told me to turn my eyes forward and not to look at anyone. It was the longest bus ride of my life.
But we made it to the game! We got there about 10:45 am and decided to tailgate for a little while. We walked over to a gas station to pick up some beer. We are standing in line waiting to pay when two cops walk over to us and ask us what we are doing. Um, we are buying beer kind officers. Not until 12 pm, you're not. Oh right. Stupid Tennessee laws. We left empty handed and started wondering around looking for some friendly (read: drunk) people that wanted to share their supply of deliciousness with us.
And then it started raining.
We gave up on tailgating and entered the stadium. People were walking around with beers and it was only 11:15 am! There is a god! So we grabbed some beer, found our seats and began to get excited for the game. A little rain never hurt anyone, right? The game started and we forgot all about the crack heads and the beer laws and the bus ride we were going to have to take home.
And then it started pouring...like cats and dogs as my mom used to say.
Remember it was New Years Eve. The weather is cold in TN in the middle of winter and rain makes it even colder. I couldn't take it. I kept moving to stand under an awning and I kept getting told I couldn't stand there but that didn't stop me. Howard didn't move. He didn't move at all. Like not even to move his beer up to his mouth. He said if he moved, then his limbs might start to break off. It was that cold.
But then the rain stopped at halftime. And the sun came out. We got to enjoy the last two quarters of the game in peace. We also got to see Vinny Testaverde, who was the Patriots 3rd string QB, complete a touchdown pass with less than two minutes left in the game. This was significant because it was the 20th consecutive season in which Testaverde has thrown a TD pass, an NFL record. It was also his last season playing. Very cool.
So we left the stadium to go back to the hotel and change so we could go out that night in Nashville to celebrate New Year's Eve. One small problem. We couldn't find the stop where the bus had dropped us off. No one seemed to know where we needed to go. We just started walking around enjoying the sites figuring we would come across a stop eventually. And we did. But it was the wrong one. The helpful bus driver pointed us in the right direction though. In the right direction of the bus stop in the hood. We probably only waited 10 minutes but it felt like eternity. I'm not even sure which I considered worse at the time...the bus load of raving lunatics or the gangstas staring us down.
We finally got on the bus and were heading back towards the hotel. Again, it was standing room only and I kept my eyes focused straight ahead. Until I heard about 10 cop cars with sirens screaming blaze by us. Howard and I just looked at each other and shrugged. As we approached our hotel, I saw all the cop cars gathered at the laudromat next door. The front windows were shot out and there was a cop with a machine gun pointed at a man he had flattened on the ground with his foot. Cops were handcuffing other people and putting a woman into the back of a cop car.
And our bus driver stopped pretty much right in front of this mess for our stop. As I stepped off the bus, I felt Howard put his arm around my waist and whisper, "Walk as fast as you can, don't look up, go straight to the room!"
Once in the room it didn't take much talking to figure out that neither of us wanted to venture out of the hotel again. This all happened in the middle of the day. We didn't want to know what went on at night. Howard ran across the street to get some beer and I ordered a pizza. We spent the rest of the night locked in the hotel room. Some New Year's Eve! Actually, if you know Howard and I, you know we have fun no matter what we are doing so we were both very happy.
We didn't have a mini-fridge so Howard filled the trash can with ice to use as a cooler. Later that night, I decided to go get some more ice. I walked out of the room and no sooner did I close the door, I saw fireworks. However, Howard thought they were gunshots and came running towards the door to make sure I was still alive.
Our room was on the backside of the hotel so I began walking to find the ice machine noting I should have asked Howard where it was before beginning my journey. I found it on the frontside of the hotel. I saw everyone out on the streets and was trying to make as little noise as possible so I would remain unnoticed. I put the bucket up to the ice machine and immediately the old, rickety machine went BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM. I took off running before I had even had 5 pieces of ice. Beer went down warm for the rest of the night.