2012 and the Road to Indianapolis
|Lucas Oil Stadium, 2012|
It all starts with the most excited I have ever been at a game:
With the Patriots on their heels in the AFC Championship game, Billy Cundiff bends it like Beckham and we're off to the Super Bowl. Cousin Mike nearly has a heart attack and scares us all, but we have some grape soda in celebration and that seems to repair the damage that was done.
For context: Brady is trying to avoid losing to the Eli Manning-led Giants for the second time in a row. But this blog isn't about football. It's about every other thing that led to me throwing my seat cushion at a crowd of celebrating Giants fans at 14 years old.
I didn't know that we were going to be headed to Indianapolis for the Bowl until a few days before we actually left. There was hope to witness the game in person in the eyes of young Nick and myself. We dreamed of seeing Tom Brady march down and win the Super Bowl in heroic fashion, live and up (kind of) close. Our dreams started to come true when our dads informed us that we would be traveling out to the wild, wild west (without tickets, I may add).
I told my teachers that I would be gone Friday and Monday, for I was going to see the Mecca of the sports and entertainment world. They seemed to understand. Who wouldn't? It's the damn Bowl! There is nothing more important to a sports-crazed 14-year-old!
We woke up on that Friday morning, tired, but ready to take on the challenge of a 16 hour car ride to a state that I will never go back to as long as I live. Nick and I huddled in the back seat and, after a nice helping of Dunkin Donuts, almost immediately fell asleep. How can you blame us? I'm pretty sure we left at like 5 a.m. When we awoke from our first slumber, we were at a McDonalds/Dunkin Donuts in Connecticut. We wolfed down some more breakfast, and I tried to go back to sleep.
I say "tried" because Nick and Ed thought it would be hysterical to watch Dumb and Dumber at full volume while allowing none of us to actually watch it. While skipping through most of the movie and landing on the "funny parts", Slice and myself became sufficiently annoyed with the Kinsella boys. It became evident that this ride was going to be longer than anticipated.
When we reached Pennsylvania, I saw my first group of Amish people. This wasn't the strange part. The strange part was seeing them hop out of a huge van to go inside of a convenience store in the middle of nowhere. Not trying to be all judgy, but I'm petty sure that breaks all of the rules of being Amish.
We continued on through that godforsaken state, sweaty and very tired. The ride had not been good to us so far. As we passed cornstalks and power lines, Nick and Ed played hours of "Men from Maine" (please listen to this if you don't know what I'm talking about), so Slice and myself were ready to end it all on I-70 West.
The sun was beginning to set as we cruised through the state of Ohio, desperately wanting to get in bed so we could get our heads right for the biggest weekend of our lives. Tensions were high. We were all just ready to see Eli make his classic face as he walked off the field, realizing that he had nothing on the greatest of all time.
|Classic Eli face, for those wondering at home|
Upon entering the home, we realized that every one of our friends had already claimed a bedroom. This left us two options: sleep on the couch and be awoken every five minutes by drunk, middle-aged men in the middle of the night, or sleep in the garage on a rug and some air mattresses. We chose the garage.
Side story! We called the garage we were sleeping in the "gay-rajj" as a joke because that was how my mom used to jokingly say "garage". We would later learn that our name for our sleeping arrangement was more than fitting. It turns out we were sleeping in the garage of a gay couple. This story is okay because Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage. Okay, onwards!
Saturday morning was relatively uneventful, as was the afternoon. We wandered around the Super Bowl village, taking in the sights and sounds of the cold and rainy city of Indianapolis. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to have the Super Bowl in a city that would be miserable in the month of February? Gooddell sucks.
Saturday night brought one of the funniest stories that I will ever be a part of. After being being told by a number of restaurants that the wait would be close to two hours, we started aimlessly walking down the street. I'm glad we did because we stumbled on the greatest buffet of all time.
One of the dads bargained to let us in at a cheaper price than advertised because we saw almost no one inside. This would be the best decision that any of us made all weekend. Upon walking into the basement where the buffet was held, we noticed that a band was playing some soft music. We also noticed that there were balloons on every table. We then saw a couple sitting at a large table, dressed very proper, with what seemed to be their parents. There were a few more people scattered across different tables that were also dressed nicely.
It then hit us that we were at a wedding. We had no gift for the lovely newlyweds. Whoever let us in was probably so desperate to get some cash that they forgot to mention that four goofy white dudes dressed in sweatshirts and jeans would look pretty out of place at a formal wedding reception for an African-American couple. But we aren't the racist type, so we said congratulations and sat down. The night was young.
We approached the buffet to get our money's worth while the waitresses all had confused looks on their faces. It was clear that we did not belong. However, our desire to rid our hunger was the only thing on our minds. After all, we had a game to play the next day.
As we were enjoying our food, the band suddenly stopped playing. The lead singer proceeded to go on a five minute rant about how the owner of the establishment refused to pay them the money that he promised, even though the band flew all the way out from Missouri to be there that fateful night. The room got painfully quiet. The silence could have been cut by one of the plastic knives from our new friend's wedding. We stayed for a little while more before we decided that we should get some rest.
The next morning, I was awoken by the three other members of my rag-tag crew, letting me know that the tickets had been purchased. We were going to the Super Bowl.
The tickets from Stubhub allowed us to go to some pregame party where NFL players were signing autographs. I met Tony Gonzalez, Larry Fitzgerald, MoJo, and many more. It was a great experience and it hyped us up to see the Patriots play in the biggest game in five years. Pics for proof:
The game started with Brady somehow throwing a safety. We remained confident.
Madonna preformed the halftime show with LMFAO and Nicki Minaj. This should have been the first sign of real trouble. It seems as though I closed my eyes, when suddenly...
Walking out of the stadium, we ran into a guy that coached Aaron Hernandez in college and his wife would not shut up about how disappointed her husband is.
You know what lady? 1.) shut up, we were all the most disappointed people on the planet at that point. 2.) I'm sure that guy is now a little more disappointed that Hernandez murdered like four dudes, but whatevs.
On our walk back to the garage, I flung my seat cushion out of anger into the night sky. It felt good. I was relieved to see it hit a pack of celebrating Giants fans. Sometimes, you have to do something bad just to know you're alive.
I will not mention the story of Pats fans threatening to pull the plug on the electric wheelchair that a man in the crosswalk was using while talking immense shit to us. That would not be a good look for our fanbase. I am above that.
I entered the sad and lonely home, walked into our terrible garage set up, and plopped face down on a half-inflated air mattress. I did not speak much for the rest of the trip.
You think the 16 hour ride there was bad? Imagine the ride back after losing the damn Super Bowl. You would think that someone that we loved died in Indianapolis. To be honest, you wouldn't be wrong. I think a piece of all of us died that weekend. The next two Super Bowl wins made up for it, but there will always be that memory of confetti raining down on us while "We Are the Champions" and "New York, New York" played.
The Super Bowl is obviously a great time, win or lose. I just hope if I'm ever there again, we win the damn thing.
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