There are a wide variety of occasions we mark with great enthusiasm, festivity and celebration; weddings, birthdays, holidays, and sports championships. I LOVE how we celebrate our sports championships – the pagentry, the parties, the food and fun. Some see it as silly to watch grown men fight over a ball. But I think it’s fascinating to watch people who are otherwise complete opposites bond together in brotherhood over the love and loyalty to their team. From CEOs to coal miners, maids to millionaires, you can be a fan with everything or nothing to your name. Game after game we cheer or cry; an entire season of emotion culminating in one shot at glory – The Big Game!!!
I’ve never been to The Big Game before. So I was VERY excited to make the trip to Houston, Texas to take part in all of the fabulousness the very huge national football conglomerate had to offer. And while my team did not make it to The Big Game:
I’m just going to subtly remind everyone that we still have 6 of these:
Championship rings…not random photo-bombing dudes.
Which is more than Any. Other. Team.
OK, my fan-dancing is done.
My weekend in Houston wasn’t all about football. I did manage to mosey on over to The Museum District for a little culture and cows:
Yup. Cows. Just hanging outside the “Moo-seum”.
OK…sorry…that kinda hurt me too. It was just too easy though.
I always wondered what to do with those museum entry stickers after leaving. Apparently, they become part of an art piece all their own…
No trip is ever complete without sampling the local-fare. So I made sure to sample as much as my stomach could contain. My first day I stopped off at The Honeymoon for a little bite to eat….
yeah…I said little.
No trip to Houston would be complete without having a little bit of BBQ:
OK…a whole ROOM full of BBQ….
What’s a meal without dessert? I just HAD to sample all of the sweet treats – like pecan pie and bacon chocolate-chip cookies
And pecan chocolate donuts.
A rough job – but someone had to do it. If you need me, I’ll be on the treadmill non-stop for the next month!!!
Not going to lie…as much as I love football, and TBG, I’m a sucker for its fluffy counterpart…Puppy Bowl!!!!!
Time out on the field:
I mean…WHO DOESN’T LOVE PUPPIES!!!!!
There was also a lot of celebrity sighting. I caught quick glances of singer John Legend (less than 3 feet away), and VP Mike Pence (not quite 3 feet away and surrounded by Secret Service). I even managed whip out my phone fast enough to snap a few quick pics:
Our tickets to the game included tickets to the tailgate party, complete with food (more food!), drink and live music!
There are upsides to being at a predominantly male-attended event….
I always love a good paradigm shift.
The Big Game (TBG):
Not to sound boastful, but I’ve been to a reasonable number of stadiums in my life – college, baseball, basketball, etc. But – after all the hype, there was something about the way the stadium, with it’s huge logos, player images, ramps and windows, felt like it was looming larger than life over me. Almost daring me to come inside for the greatest Sunday show of the season.
When I finally stepped into the stadium, I found myself overwhelmed by the vibrancy of the colors, enveloped by the noise, and assimilated into the energy of the crowd. It may not have been my team out on the field, but it was my sport to celebrate with 70,000+ of my closest friends.
And finally, it was time for The Big Game!!!!
I’ve decided that having live football in front of you in addition a a 1000 foot big screen television above really is the best way to watch a game.
Whereas I normally would have all those great TBG commercials to keep me occupied before the halftime show begins, watching the speed and efficiency of the crews setting the stage proved to be WAY more entertaining!!!
And then the show began, and I just sat back and watched it all unfold in front of me…..
The Big Finale:
When I was about 14, the very first “TBG” parties I went to was for SB20. The final was pretty ridiculous (46-10) and I remember everyone complaining about how it wasn’t a great game because it was such a blowout. From that, I learned the best games aren’t complete blowouts that make you want to leave half-way through the 4th quarter, but the ones that keep you glued to your seat until the very end.
THIS….was one of those games.
To say that I had a great weekend feels like a bit of an understatement after everything I heard, saw, and tasted. I would like to think that I’m a fairly decent writer of this blog – but even I don’t think there are words to adequately describe those 4 days in Houston. This wasn’t my first championship game, and with any luck, it won’t be my last. But this definitely ranks as one of the best overall experiences in my life.
Not everyone understands why we place such high importance on sports, or teams, or championship games. We tell people it’s the teamwork, or the strategy, or even the pursuit of victory. But I think we just like putting on our favorite team’s colors and screaming for them at the top of our lungs across from someone screaming just as loudly for theirs for 3 hours each week. Then when it’s all over, you shake hands and buy each other a drink and send each other off with platitudes and gibes, waiting for the next week to roll around. It’s fun and it’s frustrating – but it creates a great sense of comradery.
And it makes for one hell of a great party!!!!
*A special thank you to my friend Jeff for plying me with non-alcoholic drinks at the game, and a HUGE thank you to my awesome husband, who made this entire weekend possible (with a little help from that great big football organization) – I love you!!!
I love the time of year from late October to January – it is my absolute favorite time of year. There’s the slightest crispness in the air – even if it’s still 80 degrees out (it’s subtle, but it’s there). I can actually enjoy watching the sun rise in the morning (even though it’s pitch dark by the time I leave work). And then there’s the flurry of holiday activity starting with It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to ringing in the new year with resolutions and a kiss.
But starting as early as November 1st, I found myself overwhelmed with commercials, email blasts, and glaring billboards telling me where to find the “Perfect Gift” this holiday season! Sweaters and jewelry – buy this and she’ll know you love her. Outrageous car payments and credit card bills – what could be more festive? Suddenly I realized how commercialized Christmas had become in our quest for perfection with a bow.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a HUGE fan of gifts and giving at the holidays. But there has to be a better way.
So this holiday season I’m trying something new – I chose one gift for everyone and started giving at Thanksgiving.
Instead of spending hours shopping for the “perfect gift” for everyone, I selected a few bottles of wine for Thanksgiving-giving. The idea is that, while sitting around celebrating family and friends, each recipient can raise a glass, share a laugh, and take a moment to look around the table with joy and gratitude for the moment. Simple.
Well that’s not very personalized – you may think. That doesn’t show the person how thoughtful you are by selecting something just for them.
But just how thoughtful is running from place to place, half crazed in the crowd and spending money you don’t have? Who are we really proving something to when we kill ourselves trying be “thoughtful”? There’s nothing wrong with minimizing your list, simplifying your gifts and giving when you feel it’s most appropriate. After all, the perfect gift doesn’t have to be something you wrap up with a bow. Wine with friends, a cup of coffee, a simple phone call. Sometimes it’s more important not remember that something was given, but a memory was enjoyed instead.
Plus, by simplifying the process, I’ve lifted some of that last-minute stress and given myself the great gift of time. Time to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year with those I love most doing things we love best: selecting a tree, decorating our home, looking at the lights.
Actually enjoy the holiday season – not just shop around for one.