It happens sometimes, not often, when a spontaneous thought can overtake a night out. After that occurs, I wind up looking at the one I’m with, and saying, “Man, when I woke up, I never dreamed I’d be doing this tonight.” That moment may stick in my brain for days, maybe months and, as I’m sure is the case two Thursdays ago, years.
I live in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If you have read my blog regularly, or know anything about football or Wisconsin, you know Green Bay is a pretty famous football town. As a matter of fact, the city’s historic Lambeau field holds around eighty thousand, which is approximately 80% of the population of Green Bay. The Packers are considered Wisconsin’s team, so people from all parts of the state, and the country for that matter, make pilgrimages to this sports mecca.
You might think, since I’ve lived in Wisconsin mostly my entire life, that I’ve been to tons of Packer games. That’s not the case. As a matter of fact, I can count on one hand the number of games I’ve witnessed in person. Season tickets are hard to get and a game is fairly expensive to attend. Even Preseason games sell out.
I mention preseason because that’s where my excursion takes place, a Packers pre-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. So on with the fun.
We enter Titletown Brewing’s rooftop bar during the daylight hours. We grab a couple of Bent Tuba October Fest’s and chill on the patio. It’s there, while discussing the days events, that I can see, along with the city’s humble skyline, a large group of people waiting at the side of the street. They are near the old train Depot(known as the Title Town restaurant), and are clad in Green and Gold.
I’m watching them frolic about in an excited fashion. “They must be waiting for a bus to take them to the game.” I finally state.
Heidi looks over to where my eyes are fixed. “Probably, I can’t wait till my game.” Heidi has a ticket, along with a couple of friends, for later in September.
“Tonight’s starts at seven, right?”
“We could try to go.” I say. “I’m sure we could find tickets from a scalper, cheap. Like, five bucks or so. Do you want to go?”
“Sure, let’s give it a shot. If we can’t, the atmosphere outside the stadium is worth the trip.”
We casually finish our beers, even if it is shortly after six, and head for Lambeau. The short drive, to the west side, takes a matter of minutes. We end up parking in an abandoned business’ parking lot, which is literally a mile from the Stadium.
As we reach the final intersection before the Lambeau Field parking lot, we can hear the national anthem through the stadium speakers. We are waiting at the traffic light and I see a man holding two tickets for sale, on the other side of the street. The Traffic light at the cross walk seems interminably long, as I hope no one reaches him before us. Of course, some young man Jay walks and claims one of the tickets.
I feel my stomach sink but approach the man anyways. He points towards the main entrance of the parking lot , telling us there is a man with plenty of tickets waiting there. I grab a twenty and am off. For once, Heidi gives me permission to leave her behind.
When I reach the guy, I have to a do bit of haggling. He wants twenty a piece. I show him my twenty and say, “Look, this is all I have.”
He’s not buying it, but loosens a little and says he’ll take thirty for two. Heidi has caught up by now and hands me a ten. Fifteen bucks is not bad for a ticket with over fifty dollars face value. There is a problem, however, and we discover it after we get through security.
Our tickets are not next to each other, as a matter of fact they’re on opposite sides of the field. Heidi appears as if the night is ruined, but I’m not phased. “We’ll figure something out, besides the toughest part is out of the way-we got through the gate.”
I decide to find the section my seat is in, which works out. Actually this really, really works out, well, for the most part. As soon as we get to the section, we discover about seven vacant seats, at the twenty yard line and about twenty rows up. The game has already started so this seems like a good omen. We sit down and start watching the game.
Everything is well and good for about five minutes, then a couple walks to our seats, or spots on the bleacher, and appear confused.
I look over and smile, “We might be in your seats.” We relinquish our spots and move down a row to some fresh vacancies. However, the scene prompts the usher to approach us. The elderly man asks to see our tickets and we hand them over. He points emphatically behind us, “You’re over there” he looks from me to Heidi and then again emphatically points, this time across the stadium. “And you’re over there.”
Heidi explains our situation, with a bit of a plea in her voice. The man softens and agrees to let us stay if no one shows to claim the seats. For the rest of the first quarter, Heidi’s eyes are glued to the gate, nervously eyeing every person walking through. I, however, am enjoying an entertaining game. We had a lead of 14-0, but the Steelers came back and tied the game. I’m a little annoyed with the traveling Pittsburgh faithful that made the trip, cheering on their team and booing the refs. Some of them are sitting right behind us.
Heidi relaxes, after the first quarter, and we enjoy the game until deciding to leave after the third to beat traffic. Unfortunately everyone else had the same Idea. A ten minute drive took an hour. However we saw most of the scoring, at least the Packers bit. We missed a pick 6 at the beginning of the game and a field goal during the fourth quarter. Not to worry, there was plenty of scoring in between as the final was a Packers victory 51-35.
I do suggest a trip to Lambeau but beware of the scalpers.