Game Day – January 1st, 2007
I woke up and realized that I had missed the new year. Oh well… I was only marginally interested in the new years anyway. I’ve always been one of those people who hated New Year’s Eve. When I was a kid, they were great. I would hang out with my parents who would play board games with their friends the Fishers. Even then I loved Trivial Pursuit. Then, some years, John would spend the night. We would load up on candy and pizza and hang out in my parent’s basement watching the stand-up comedian marathon that HBO would run. (then we would concoct some sort of lethal homemade firework out of our stash… Mom, you didn’t read that).
But as an adult, New Year’s Eve is always a let down.
That is, until you have the best New Year’s Day planned that you can remember. And that was what I was looking in the face this day.
We partook in our usual breakfast of McDonald’s and got prepared for the game. John spent the morning complaining that his legs were killing him. Obviously, it had to do with his ‘drunk walk’ episode of the night before. He was taking 3 steps for my every 1 step. Not a great ratio. Perhaps it might also have something to do with his overall health, but that is just a theory.
After breakfast and some laying around, we ‘oranged’ up (not that I hadn’t been wearing orange the whole time) and set out for the stadium.
Just as we were pulling into the stadium (about noon) my cell phone rang and it was my sister Kim (and bro-in-law Chris) who had come down on a same-day charter for the game. Perfect timing. We were on opposite sides of the stadium, so we started walking towards each other to meet up. It was very cool to see Bronco Nation descend on the parking lot. Our section was looking like Bronco Stadium on game day!
Since we were still some 7 hours to game time, we had a little time to kill. We decided to walk over to this shopping and entertainment area adjacent to the stadium. As we got closer, we heard loud music and wondered what was going on. Aparently, there was some sort of pre-game party happening, and we could get in for only $20. Since, what we could see was mainly just shops and about 15 people in there, we decided we’d just pass and moved on. We did find a store selling Fiesta Bowl and Boise State gear nearby and ventured in. After John spent his requisite amount of cash, we were able to leave.
Once inside the gates, all we saw was a sea of orange and blue. It was an unbelievable sight. You don’t see this many orange and blue people in one place in BOISE on game days, let alone somewhere 1,100 miles from home. It was absolutely breathtaking to see all of your fellow Broncos in one place.
As you can see from the last picture above, we were there early enough to secure us a table and a place to park for the day. It wasn’t long before this whole area was completely packed and there was nary a seat to be had.
After finding a table, we set out to obtain our comlimentary meal. On each ticket was 3 coupons. One for a free “meal”, one for a Tostitos “Chip and Dip Plate” and one for a drink. We fought through the crowd and got our coveted $20 meal.
I had never had a $20 hot dog before. I thought that perhaps it was like those fancy restaurants in Manhattan who serve the $40 gourmet hamburgers or something. Alas, it was not to be. It was just a regular old dog(quite wrinkly, actually) with no condiments, I might add. Humorous to me was that the booth giving these things out was huge and every line was 10 people deep. Who knew the demand for shitty hot dogs was so great? Oh… I almost forgot the potato salad. As I HATE potato salad, I didn’t partake (but some did get on my bun… Eeeeewww). To top it off, there was also the ounce and a half of salsa and 15 chips! So, we had that going for us… I have to figure, that whole meal cost them maybe $0.35 per person to produce, and everyone paid $20 to get in the door. I wonder where that money goes…
There was lots of stuff going on in this party area. There were other food vendors (but with such a gourmet meal like they gave us, who had room?). There were these gigantic truck sized big screen TV’s all tuned to the Rose Bowl. That was a nice touch. Rock climbing walls. An astrojump for the kids. There was a even boxing exhibition (with actual fighters, not people from the crowd, which would have been more fun).
Then there was the corporate swag giveaways. There were many many corporations (all sponsors, I’m assuming) there to hand out all kinds of crap. And since we were in a crap receiving mood, we obliged them. Orange headbands from Geico. Free Sucrets throat lozenges (which were a life saver later). Free blue and orange beads, beer can coozies, orange pom poms… And, of course, the infamous ‘Taco Hats’. You name it, they were giving it away. Normally, I wouldn’t give two shits about free crap, but hey… when in Rome.
We mainly spent the day sitting around the table, talking about the game. Constantly amazed by the sheer number of Bronco fans that kept showing up. Even in the Oklahoma end of the party, Broncos outnumbered visible Sooners 10 to one. At ‘our’ end, it was 25 or 35 to one. Remarkable. The other thing I noticed is that there were many more ‘crazed’ Bronco fans. You know… the guys who really dress up for the game. The cape wearers. The wig guys. The face painters. When it is your team, it is really fun to see. I wish I could be one of those guys, but I just don’t have it in me. We were beginning to wonder just where the OU fans were. They weren’t at the block party the night before. They weren’t at this party. Maybe they didn’t show up?
You can see from the pictures that it was a beautiful day. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. There were airplanes towing large advertising banners circling the grounds endlessly. Occasionally, one would pass between us and the sun, casting a shadow on us for a few seconds. Kim and I took to grunting and pointing like cavemen whenever it would happen. I would just be reading my newspaper, then the shadow would cross us… “grunt! grunt! *bang the table* Ugh!” It was very “Quest for Fire” and very funny. Maybe you had to be there…
Of course, the bands came through and the cheerleaders did their things. We were approaching game time. You could sense a change in the crowd. The “Boise! State!” chants were dying off. People seemed to go a bit into a quiet focus. Or maybe that was just me.
It was almost here. Once you go into the stadium, it is a different feeling and we were about to head in. It was happening. The wait was over.
To Be Continued…