Monday, December 20, 2010

That time I reinforced gender stereotypes at an NFL game

I'm sure everyone has heard about how the Green Bay/New England game went last night. I won't even type the four-letter word that begins with "l" and rhymes with "cost." Before I detail the way the night almost ended in disaster, let's talk about how out-of-my-mind I was excited in the hours leading up to the game:

9:00am: Michelle wakes up for some last-minute studying for her 1:30pm Bio exam; cries a little; curses finals; curses college and higher education; wonders if it's too late to go to culinary school.

2:30pm: Michelle finishes Bio exam and, with it, her LAST FALL SEMESTER EVER at Williams College. Cries a little (out of joy); comes home, packs to go home for Christmas.

3:41pm: Michelle takes a silly picture of she and L. wearing their Rodgers/Brady jerseys, posts it on the blog.

4:00pm: Michelle and L. get on the road, stock up on Bugles and embark on the three hour drive to Gillette Stadium.

7:00pm: L. and Michelle decide it will be cheapest to park a mile and a half away from the stadium. They pay $40, which turns out to be a bargain. The following (possibly dramatized) exchange takes place when they get out of the car:

M: Wow, it's not that cold at all!
L: No, it's not, this should be great!
M: It doesn't even feel like winter! It feels like a chilly fall night! I'll definitely be warm with these two sweaters under my Aaron Rodgers jersey! I DON'T EVEN NEED A COAT! (Note: The actual temperature was in the 20s, with wind chill, probably lower.)
Random Guy at the Porter-Potty: Wow, a Green Bay fan and a Patriots fan! Together! In a relationship!
YEAH lolz one of us is going to be very upset on the car ride home lolz haha! (I couldn't have known how much I would regret that statement).

: We finally get into the stadium and I rush down to the first level to watch the Packers warm up. I couldn't have even anticipated that I would have been that excited. One of the widest, most genuine smiles in my recent memory spreads across my face. I spot Matt Flynn and Clay Matthews and Donald Driver and Greg Jennings (and Tom Brady...I can't lie and say I don't love him) and wonder if this is real life. Can I do this every weekend?

8:20pm: Kickoff. I am dying. With glee and joy and happiness.

Then, PACKERS ONSIDES KICK! RECOVERED! And then Packers are up on the Patriots! And then Matt Flynn is playing better than Tom Brady! And then HOLY CRAP WE MIGHT WIN!

Then I got cocky and got into some arguments with drunk belig New England men. One of them said "You're in New England Sweet-haaat!" Note: Drunk Patriots fans are really good at Geography.

When I wasn't arguing with drunk New Englanders, I was creepily stalking Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines through my binoculars.

Also, we were sitting with a lot of Packers fans and so we were in good company and I made friends.


This is the last time I would be happy for a long time. I had also finally given in and put on my coat, because I was literally shaking uncontrollably and probably hypothermic.

Then. Then things took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, I wasn't jeering and taunting and screaming and high-fiving with the other cheeseheads and generally being an awesome cool girl whose team rocks at sports. Suddenly, every time the Patriots scored I found myself sitting silently in my seat as a stadium full of 60,000 people jumped up to their feet around me. It kept getting worse; suddenly it was the fourth quarter and the Patriots were up by 4. Suddenly there were only 19 seconds left and we were on the fourth down. I felt myself starting to break down; I couldn't help it. It was my first NFL game, my first Packers game, we had played better football for basically the whole game, I was so proud of/impressed by Matt Flynn and really wanted this for him, and, most of all, even though I can be a rough-and-tumble, trash-talking, hot-dog guzzling sports fan like the best of them...I am an emotional girl at heart, and something really, really bad was about to happen.

I repeated "please please please" about fifty times in the eleven or so seconds that remained. But suddenly, the clock was down to zero, and we were still down by four. The entire stadium jumped to its feet in an uproar; I felt the tears rush forth and I jumped from my seat, struggling to hold back my sobs, and left as quickly as I could. L. ran after me and we walked down the six (!) ramps from our seats in the upper balcony, and I gave myself one of the worst headaches I've ever had from struggling to hold in my tears. I know you guys are probably laughing about this and maybe in a few days I'll get to a place where I can see how it's funny, too, but I just got really emotional about the whole thing. I was absolutely devastated. L. felt awful and couldn't even gloat properly, so while I stood dejectedly in the sea of cheering and congratulating fans, he got an idea.

He went up to one of the vendors and asked him a question, and then came back and led me away from the exit, where the herd was gathering. He took me down a side hallway and out a side door, and we walked around the outside of the stadium, where we found ourselves in front of the Packers' buses. L. asked the security if they would be coming out soon, and they said if we hung around for a half hour or so, we should get to see some of the players. My tears slowed. Then, the security guards whispered that if we headed over to the little grassy patch to our left, where the friends and family usually waited, we might get to see some of THE players. My tears stopped. And thus began our wait: Me, L., a family with a little boy with awesome green and yellow face paint, and actual legitimate players' friends and family. After only about fifteen minutes of waiting, I saw Clay Matthews exit the stadium and get on the bus. Then, I started getting excited again. I was shaking uncontrollably but if Rodgers came out, I wanted him to know I was a true fan, so I took off my coat. L. said I was crazy; I said I was loyal; he said I was stubborn; I said I wasn't.

Then, to our left, all the friends and family ran over to greet Josh Sitton. And then, not longer after that, out came...


I debated going over to talk to him for about 5 minutes, as L. told me that if I didn't I would regret it forever. Finally, I went over (awkwardly meekly) but, as I was walking, I realized I had no idea what to call him. Matt? Flynn? Mr. Flynn? Matt Flynn? When I finally got up to him and his whole group turned to look at me, I sort of whispered "Matt?" He smiled, and I felt encouraged. "I'm so sorry to interrupt," I said, "but I just wanted you to know that this was my first NFL game at I'm so glad I got to see you start." He smiled and said thank you, and I added, "I mean, I just spent the last 20 minutes sobbing, so my night is really looking up now," at which his mom laughed. He smiled again and laughed and said thank you, and I walked away beaming. The little boy and I hung around a little longer, hoping to see Rodgers (who we didn't see), but we did see Mike McCarthy and Charles Woodson. The night was saved, and we walked around the amazing Patriots Place before (barely) making it back to the car and got home and I fell asleep warm and happy.

(PS: Do you guys like the new header??)


  1. Love the new header and the game sounds so fun, even if your team did lose. I've never been to an NFL game and I've always wanted to go. How cool that you got to meet one of the players!

  2. Haha you're too cute! I get quite emotional at games as well, maybe that's why girls don't play football :)

    What a sweet guy you have though!! Glad there was a bit of positive ending to an upsetting game {...I was totally rooting for the packers too!!}

  3. @DG: Thank you! I can't believe I had to wait this long for my first was amazing. I want season tickets!

    @Emily Ann: Haha girl, you have an excuse, your boyfriend plays! I am totally that crazy girl who just sobs when her team loses even though I have no friends/boyfriend/relatives on the team. How funny that I'm freaking out about spotting them and you get to see them all the time! Jealous!

  4. I cried when the Colts won the AFC Championships and then when they won the Superbowl. And then I cried again when they lost in the last Superbowl and was a super poor sport about it.

    So, yeah, I TOTALLY GET IT!

    But, wow! You got to congratulate Matt Flynn! That's pretty cool! And too bad you didn't meet Aaron so you could give him my number. Le sigh. There's always next time! ;)

  5. Haha girl if I had met Aaron rather than asking for HIS autograph I would have handed him MY number haha, but I could slip yours in there too ;). Did you hear that supposedly he's dating Erin Andrews?!?! Another reason to love/hate her.

  6. Oh girl, I hate to lose! I would have felt the exact same way - wait, I don't think I would have ever made it in that cold! You are my hero!

  7. Oh man, that game was rough in my house! Jordan is a HUUUUUGE Packers fan, so I cheer for them too. However, a guy from my high school, who played college football at MSU, where Jordan went to school, now plays for the Patriots. So we feel obligated to cheer for him, because really, how often do Montana boys get any glory in sports?

    We love the Packers most though.

    Also...the guy on the Patriots who we cheer for is the one who sacked Flynn on their final drive in the 4th quarter. It was the most conflicted I've ever felt about a sports event ever. Jordan was just mad haha. He loves the Packers way more than a kid from his college football team.

  8. Thanks everyone for not laughing at me! I promise I don't usually cry at sporting events... I think it's different when you're there.

    @Meghan: Aw, shucks! Haha! Glad someone thought my behavior was valiant and not bratty!

    @Michelle: I don't think I can support your friend, haha! He is the one who caused my tears to start! Seriously though, I live near Boston so I also love the Patriots, and though the Packers are my #1 I always cheer for the Patriots--when they're not playing the Pack, of course. It was definitely the most conflicted I've ever felt about a game, too! Glad you and Jordan are fellow Packers fans--we need to stick together!