Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lambeu Recap

Last weekend, on the first stop of my NFL Bucket List Tour, I went to the legendary Lambeau Field to see my Redskins play the Green Bay Packers. After a very welcoming first day in Wisconsin (minus the speeding ticket), I went to the game. It was a dreary day for a football game. The weather was cool (about 60 degrees) and raining. Good thing I consulted my weather dot com app and packed a rainy game day outfit, just in case. “I am nothing if not thorough.” Joan Carol Clayton. Plan B wasn’t as cute as my skinny jeans and jersey, but it worked out perfectly for the conditions.

Green Bay has a specific bus system for game days, so I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to get to the game. There was a bus stop in front of my hotel that picked up every thirty minutes starting at 8 a.m., with the last bus departing for Lambeau Field at 10:52. I opted for the 10:30 bus. We were packed in pretty tightly, but I managed to find a seat. With game-day traffic, it took us about 35 minutes to travel the 2.7 miles to the stadium. Still raining, I got off hoping not to get soaked. The other fans, however, didn’t seem to care about the rain. Everyone seemed happy to be going to a game at the not yet Frozen Tundra (Lambeau’s nick-name for games later in the season). You couldn’t pay me to go to a game in November or December. They could host the Super Bowl, award me free tickets, a spending spree and a date with Colin Kapernick and I’d still be like “naw, I’m good.” Throw in a date with Tank and well … that’s a horse of a different color. Back to the game …

I managed to stay dry and run inside. I eased through security with my clear plastic bag I picked up from the Packers Pro Shop the day before. Once inside, I looked for my seat. There was still about an hour until game time so I decided to waste time in the concourse area to stay dry. After all, I am training for a marathon and I ain’t got time for no illnesses right now. Fast forward to game time … I found a beer stand serving up my favs, grabbed one and headed for my seat. My view was amazing! If you are gonna go to Lambeau, this is the way to do it.

I was surrounded by Pack fans (I can call them that now because we are friends now). There were only a few lonely Skins fans in this section. Good thing, I was close to the bench ‘cause I would have felt real out of place. I made friends with the Pack around me, with everyone asking the same questions: “Do you live here?” Or “How are you a Redskins fan in Green Bay?” I then explained to them that I currently live in Indianapolis but I moved to Indy from Washington, DC. “ohhhh, they say” I guess I checked out. Later they asked “why did you decide to come to this game” to which I replied “Who doesn’t want to come to Lambeau?” With approving nods, we continued to watch the game.

My team isn’t doing so well right now and the Packers jumped out to an early lead. At least the first touchdown was to Randall Cobb who is on my fantasy team. I’ll take fantasy points if I can’t get real points. A few minutes before the half, there was an injury time-out so I took that opportunity to grab some food and another drink. I needed it man … I stumbled upon Pac & Cheese and decided grab something from there. I had heard about it via my Food Network on the Road iPad app. I ordered the buffalo chicken mac, another beer and went back to my seat. Oh this mac and cheese was good. A little greasy for my recent tastes, but still very good and perfect with a beer.

The second half wasn’t much better than the first, in terms of my team’s performance. RGIII did turn it up a bit to score two very anticlimactic touchdowns – both had to be challenged. A few minutes into the 4th quarter, a few of the already scantily represented Redskins fans started to leave. Who leaves a game at Lambeau early? I mean maybe he didn’t pay that much for his seat. I wasn’t going anywhere until the fat lady finished her solo. Then I had every intention of staying for an encore. As they left, the Pack let them have it. They joked, “thanks for coming to Lambeau,” “leaving so soon?” After the first guy got hazed for leaving early, I felt the urge to go to the restroom, but I couldn’t get up for fear that they would think I was leaving, that I’d make up having to go to the bathroom to stop them from making fun of me. Dammit. I had to hold it. The entire fourth quarter. By the end, the Pack were celebrating with me on the few points we finally did score. We all knew that the Redskins weren’t gonna catch up so no need in being mean. They supported me (and laughed at me too) as I celebrated. See, the Pack has class.

After the game, I found the bus stop headed back to my hotel. I even made some friends waiting in line there too. I met an older gentlemen who retired from the Navy over 20 years ago and was going back to Virginia the next weekend to be honored for his service. How cool was that? A few other things I noticed at the game …

I was surprised to see so many elderly people at the game. I saw at least three, 80+ birthday celebrations.

The stadium was much smaller than I expected. We broke an attendance record that day with 78k. college stadiums are much bigger than that.

It was all bleacher seating. A guy in the Pro Shop told me that you get about 12 inches for your seat, so it can get pretty cramped in the winter.

All in all I had an amazing experience at Lambeau Field. It probably would have been more fun with friends or family, but I am glad that I went anyway. Every NFL fan should make their way to Lambeau at least once.



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