Friday, November 09, 2007

NYJB - The End

We'll wrap this thing up here. Meanwhile, if you need to catch up...


I sat in the cold rain, watching the football game. My cousin, David, sat next to me. To the right of David were the other David; his wife, Robin; and the NYJB - Fred.

The dynamics involved in watching a football game are interesting. If you're a big fan of the home team, it's expected that you'll make lots of noise when the opposition has the ball. This is an attempt to confuse them; to make the other players unable to clearly hear the signals being barked out by the quarterback, perhaps causing them to take a false start penalty, or maybe - in the best scenario - having the players furthest from the quarterback not correctly hear the play call when the quarterback audibles at the line, thus exponentially increasing the odds of a turnover.

If you're not familiar with football terminology, I apologize. I'm making this sound more complicated than it is. The only thing you really need to know is that fans are expected to make as loud a sound as possible when the enemy has the ball. So, that's what I did. Every time Florida State stepped up to the line, I made a sound somewhat like "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

If I got nothing else out of this ballgame, I got a good workout for my lungs. I was heartened by the fact that, even after close to 25 years of not singing in heavy metal bands, I could still hold a note for close to 30 seconds.

My cousin David, meanwhile, was trying to uphold the other end of the home field advantage. There were two Florida State fans sitting three or four rows below us. Whenever FSU did something good, they'd jump to their feet and cheer. And, every time they did, David yelled "Siddown!" And they did, too. David was considerably larger than they were so, by halftime, discretion had become the better part of their valor.

In the end, it didn't matter. BC lost. David and I both felt that BC were the victims of bad officiating, but we were biased to begin with, so I'm willing to entertain the notion that they were just outplayed by Florida State. And, although we were doing our part in the noisemaking process, we both felt that much of the crowd there that night didn't know how they were supposed to react. This was the first time in many years that BC had been in a game with so much importance attached to it. Many were waiting for something to happen, and then cheer. They didn't understand that they needed to help make it happen.

As I said before, it was enjoyable nevertheless. We had had good food, lots of drink, pleasant conversation, and - considering the weather - relative comfort.

At halftime, FSU had a 7 - 0 lead. Fred, my cousin David, the other David, and Robin, all decided to go inside, to the bathroom or concessions. I stayed in the stands and watched the marching band perform. When my friends returned, they were minus one of the party.

You may recall an exchange from earlier in this story, when Fred had called to offer me a ticket to the game. The previous time we had gone to see BC play, he had left at halftime. I had had to leave with him. So, I said:

"Fred, I'd love to go to the game, and I love you. But I don't want to see half a game."

"Sully, I'll stay for the entire game this time. I promise!"


"You have my personal guarantee!"

Well, the one who was missing when they returned to the stands was Fred. He had again decided that one half of college football was more than enough for his taste. However, this time there were four other people who wanted to stay for the whole game, so he couldn't just go home. He had to stay in the vicinity. He told David to tell the rest of us that he would meet us at the car after the game.

We all stayed, rooting for BC, until the final nail was driven into the coffin via an interception return for a touchdown with a bit over a minute to play. We then shuffled out of the stands with heads down, while the smattering of Florida State fans had their chance to jeer at us. That's the way it goes. They won, 27 - 17.

When we got back to the car, Fred told us that he had taken a nap, for the length of the third quarter, in Conte Forum, the basketball and hockey arena attached to the football stadium. He had then returned to the car and waited for us. We exited the garage, amid the other dissapointed Eagles fans, and then drove back to Fred's place.

Once back at Fred's, we piled out of his mini-van and said our goodbyes. My cousin and I hugged. It had again been a genuine pleasure going to a football game with him. He's blood, but he's also good people. I'm very glad we've been able to share some time together after so many years of non-contact.

Fred, ever the good host, invited us in to share some further libations, but we all declined the offer. It was late, we were worn out (and some of us wetter than others, especially our feet...), so we all climbed into our respective rides and got on the road.

So, as I said in part one, this story could have been boiled down to three lines:

Last night, I went to see a football game. Even though the team I was rooting for lost, I had a good time. This is because I went to the game with good people.

However, when you've received as much good grace in this world as I have, you sometimes need to give yourself - and the people, like Fred, who have been responsible for so much of it - a stronger reminder of just how wonderful it actually is, as well as how much you appreciate it - and them. I've done that here, and I thank you for your patience while I was doing so.

Soon, with more better stuff.


David Sullivan said...

I had a great night and look forward to the next time. How can you go wrong? Free food, free beer, football, friends, did I mention free beer? Good times!!

Melinda said...

Great story Sully - even right now when I'm going through hard times, I can see the world as a great place just because of some of the people in it. Thanks for the reminder :)

Merisi said...

It's all about the people we love and cherish. Thanks for reminding us. :-)

KAYLEE said...

GREAT STORY SULDOG!!!!!!!! How you been? I have really been struggling to be healthy! Havent felt that great :(