The Meadowlands: The Great American Football Experience
In the great scheme of live sports entertainment, the game itself is but part of the equation. I was introduced to the great experience of "tailgating" by my workmates when I went to my first professional football game. The Game was on a not too cold day in the Meadowlands in New Jersey where I was to see the New York Jets play the Miami Dolphins. I hear it is somewhat a major rivalry in the world of football. Like I would know ... but keen to find out!
After being picked up at home and driving through Manhattan to NJ, I had to give directions to the driver. (Note: The driver had been to the stadium many times before, and I had never been.) So after circling the stadium a few times, we were able to locate the rest of the group we were meeting. Most people there were charged with bringing one aspect of the tailgate party. My part was to bring some food. Most of the time it is expected that the food bringer is to procure hot dogs or fixings to make burgers. How ... pedestrian ... So I decided to bring the fixings to make Philly cheese steak sandwiches, and some fried chicken that I had made at home. The crowd was happily surprised.
So after a couple of hours of stuffing our faces and downing many beers, we headed into the stadium. I would just like to take a second here to mention that people who have to pee every 5 minutes when drinking beer, should NEVER tailgate. One of our group spent more time in the line for the porta-loo, than he spent socializing. The stadium itself was quite nice inside, although, my sampling pool to compare it to is very limited. The bathrooms were always packed, the venders in beer always seemed to be sold out, and the predominant food to be found in the stadium was sausages of some kind, either hot dogs, cheddar-chili dogs, or onion laden Italian sausages. Hmmmm ... Sounds like a male haven, and mostly, you would be correct in thinking so. Even the females that go to the games would stand to pee ... Scary.
During the game, I stuck with peanuts and only one beer. While everyone else was braving the bathroom, I was happily watching the best plays of the game. (They did not plan. Losers.) The end score saw the Jets eke out a win. The exit from the stadium, and getting out to the highway, was nothing but sheer chaos. Took about 30 minutes to extract ourselves to the relative safety of the highway.
All in all the experience was a lot of fun, and gave me great insight into what football fans around the country look forward to doing every weekend in professional and college stadiums ... waiting in line to pee.
Photos courtesy of www.stadiumsofnfl.com.
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