After closing the bar (yippee!) on Saturday night, you would think that I’d be tired and ready for sleep soon after arriving back at Donna’s place. Nope, I ended up staying awake until 4am. She, on the other hand, was quite tipsy after three drinks and retired to bed soon after coming home.

Donna woke me up at 10am, the time we originally planned to depart for the shuttle to the Jags game. Oops! While she ran for some coffee, I got ready and off to the shuttle we went.

The stadium apparently has extremely limited parking. So, JTA (Jax Transit Authority) has shuttles to the stadium for ten bucks a head. When you consider that parking is 20 bucks and there was no guarantee that we’d find handicapped spots, it made more sense. Once we got off the shuttle, it made even more sense. What a madhouse!

The last football game I attended was in 1986. Ed, the ex and I all worked for Hess gas stations and Leon Hess, in an unusual bit of generosity, gave each of the surrounding metro area stations complimentary tickets to a pre season game. In years past, they were hard to come by.

That year, between the two stations we staffed, we had SIXTEEN tickets and only three of us went (with me offering to my dad, the ex’s dad and people I hadn’t talked to in ages-still no dice). Giants Stadium was sparsely populated and as a result, not a good baseline for an NFL football experience.

This game was blacked out, but we were among a lot of people trying to get to our seats before kickoff (the shuttle was quick-we got there about 25 minutes before game time) From our vantage point, it appeared to be 60-7o% occupied, though we could not see the section above us. Donna did well-Crown Royal Club seats on the 30 yard line just below the boxes.

I have more than a passing knowledge of football, though these days, my watching is limited to the Super Bowl. Many a Sunday growing up, the TV would be tuned to a game, any game. Dad was a big time sports fan. Donna, on the other hand, only knew that each team had to get the ball to one of the end zones. It was harder for her to differentiate, as both sides had the Jaguars logo.

Hilarity ensued when I tried to explain the finer points of the game. The first penalty called, she commented that now Jacksonville has a power play advantage (that’s my girl, bring up the hockey!). She knew this wasn’t the right sport, but once I started explaining the down system, I lost her forever. Her eyes started to glaze over and she opted to look at the score boards. Sorry, Donna, yet another surprise for you!

The game was a rout of the Houston Texans, but it was extremely exciting nonetheless. One of the best plays of the game happened while she was in the restroom. Jacksonville had possession, 2nd down and 6 yards to go. Smith took the ball for a 81 yard touchdown. Donna came back out from the club area to hear the fireworks that the team sets off whenever they score a touchdown.

With five minutes left on the clock, we opted to head out of the park towards the shuttles. I’ve got the walker and wanted to beat the inconsiderate jerks that would crush me (look for another blog entry on that later). The team was up by nearly thirty points, there was no way Houston was coming back from it. Apparently, this is par for the course for them, as evidenced by the many “Houston, you have a problem” banners we saw.

Anyone planning on an NFL game better bring the deep pockets. Even though the tickets were compliments of Donna’s employer, parking would have been 20 bucks (the shuttle was). The burger, hot dog and two sodas were $25.00. They were tasty, but yikes! I saw some really appealing alcoholic beverage that was Jaguars teal, but I am sure that bad boy cost about 15 bucks.

We got down to ground level and off the elevator to find the crowd streaming out of the stadium. Fortunately, it was not a long wait for the shuttle and the first stop was the lot we were parked in. The ride back was in the company of Donna’s coworker Anthony and his friend. Nice guy. During the ride, both Donna and I notice that we’ve got some color (for us fair skinned girls, the color would be RED). I’ve got a farmer’s tan in the shape of the appropriately colored teal shirt I wore today. Those of you up north, don’t be hatin’ that we get sunburned at a football game!

Some down time was in order, so we went back to her place to veg for a while. Dinner was a quiet meal at Dave and Buster’s. While waiting for our meals, we look to the TV screens above the square bar and notice that they do not give the score for the game that finished three hours ago! What’s up with that? Fortunately, we did not prolong my jealousy that she’s got a D&B nearby and I don’t, we just had the meal and headed out for an early bedtime.

I am so glad I spent the extra day. The game was fantastic, the dinner yummy and the time spent with my best buddy was priceless. I wanted to drag her on the train with me. Now it’s her turn to visit us. If Amtrak allowed pets, I’d say it’d be the perfect way for her to get here-nice and relaxing.


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