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December 11, 2006

The Lions Blues

Every now and then, David's dad gets free tickets to Detroit sporting events from people he works with and passes them on to us. We haven't seen the Pistons (they don't play in Detroit, anyway), but we went to a Red Wings game last spring and yesterday we saw the Lions at Ford Field. It was our first NFL game and we had a lot of fun, despite the fact that the Lions played just as poorly as they always do.

The stadium was honestly the best part of the game. Ford Field is a brand-new indoor stadium, built just a few years ago to make Detroit eligible to host the 2006 Super Bowl. It is right downtown, literally built around a nineteenth-century warehouse. When you enter the stadium, it is as if you are walking down the street that was there before the stadium was built. We also had some of the best seats in the house: the "Club" section -- right in the middle of the field, above the plebeian section and right below the luxury boxes. We sat in cushy leather seats, drank and dined in private lounges, and had extra security to keep the rif-raf out of our area. Someone behind us even said that our seats were modeled on the seats in the Ford Escort.

Unlike at Comerica Park, however, spectators can't bring outside food into Ford Field and, since I won't buy stadium food (no, not even the grilled chicken panini offered in the "Club"), this rule presented a challenge. I stashed food in the various pockets of my jacket, hoping that nobody would notice that I was wearing my lunch. Also unlike at Comerica, Lions fans must submit to a pretty thorough body search before even going into the stadium. There were separate lines for men and women -- or rather long lines for men and no wait at all for women -- so I got through the search pretty quickly. I unzipped my jacket, so they patted me down inside my jacket and didnt' touch the jacket itself, allowing me to easily smuggle in the food. The only thing I had to ditch was my unopened bottle of water.

As for the game itself, well, that was pretty sad. Today's Ann Arbor News refers to the Lions as "consistently bad." Yesterday I called them "reliably disappointing." David pointed out to me that our best player was our kicker so, when we were down by ten, I noted that we only needed four field goals to win. At that point, the Lions drove down the field and looked like they were going to make a touchdown. First down and goal to go on the one yard line. Pretty soon it was fourth and goal. David joked that we should try for a field goal, and it turned out he was right. We missed the fourth try as well. My favorite part of watching football is figuring out all the possible permutations of scoring that we could get in order to win. A touchdown seemed out of the question at that point but, when the ball turned over just outside of the Vikings' endzone, I announced that we could, in theory, get a safety, and then we would only need three field goals. A kid somewhere near me had the same idealistic notion, but David scoffed at our nievete. "In theory," he said, we could get a safety. By that point there were only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter and most of the stadium had emptied out. By the end of the game, it seemed that we were the only ones there besides the Vikings fans and the super-hard-core Lions supporters. The staff at Ford Field, however, were still very pleasant, thanking us for coming and wishing us a nice day. From what we hear, the Lions are a great organization to work for if you don't care about winning.

Posted by eklanche at December 11, 2006 07:45 AM


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