Saturday, November 19, 2005

Enjoy Football South Florida Style!

Good morning, Fantastic Football Fans!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so. I know that I am!

When most people think about football, memories of cold, crisp autumn days, the smell of burning leaves and hot apple cider are likely to be evoked.

Imagine my surprise when I recently attended a football game in Pro Player stadium in Miami. The day started off with driving rain, cloudy skies, a strong breeze and a temperature of 85 degrees! My host told me I should thank my lucky stars because if it weren't overcast the temperature while sitting in the sun would soon climb to over 100 degrees.

We started the day by putting on lots of sun block (SPF 35) so we wouldn't look like lobsters.

As we walked through the parking lot, I was fascinated to find that most fans were enjoying cool or cold foods rather than hot foods for their tailgates. Most had erected tents to avoid the blistering sun.

Once in the stadium, my host looked visibly relieved that the escalators to the top level were working. Otherwise, we would have had a sweaty, draining long hike up the ramps to the top.

My host then demonstrated how I could stand in the entry tunnels to cool off if I started to feel faint from the heat and humidity in the stands.

The game was between the Miami Dolphins and the visiting New England Patriots. Neither team is having a stellar season. On the way to winning the Super Bowl last year, New England lost a last-minute squeaker in Miami on an extremely cold night where the temperature in Miami was lower than that in Boston. The Patriots win in Miami about every 8 years, so New England fans didn't expect much . . . except the Dolphins are having lots of problems, too.

Imagine my surprise when the colors in the stands suggest that there appear to be more New England fans present than Dolphins fan. This is a virtual home game in the sun for New England!

But there's bad news. The New England fans in my area are the most obnoxious drunks I've sat near in many years. They scream obscenities at the top of their lungs, start slapping at Dolphins fans, and one later passes out in the aisle. Despite having lots of signs posted that unruly fans will be kicked out and with guards standing a few feet away, these fans are tolerated by the powers that be. They would have been booted out within 15 minutes in New England for the same behavior. The good news is that they were out of my line of sight for watching the field.

The vendors soon come around selling . . . frozen lemonade.

I persuade my host to check out the beer stand. He reports that the beverage prices are the same as in Foxboro (exorbitant) with $10 being the top charge for a premium draft brew. At half time, I decide to do a little snooping around and am surprised to find that most beer stands are already sold out. People in Florida must work up a big thirst in all that heat.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the game. It's a pretty inept affair for most of the first three quarters. The Dolphins miss a chip shot field goal as one sign that it's not going to be a great game. But both teams start scoring with more alacrity in the fourth quarter, and the victory for New England isn't determined until the game's final play.

Knowing that Pro Player stadium can be a tough place to exit, I ask my host how long it will take to escape. He mentions that it usually takes him two hours to get out of the parking lot.

Your dream concierge decides to do him a favor and find a better way. We check out the exit pattern at the sole egress from our parking lot. I note that one lane out handles only the first row. Naturally, we are in the back row . . . but if we can go through empty spaces through the remaining cars, we can get to that front row and right out. With your dream concierge riding shotgun pointing out the path, we exit the parking lot 6 minutes after entering our car. We are heading north on the Florida turnpike 5 minutes later. My host is impressed.

I'm impressed by some other things. You can get better seats in Miami for a lot less money than you can in New England. I guess there are some advantages to having a losing team.

So if you want to see your team play, you can probably get a free vacation to Florida for the price of the difference between what you would pay for seats and parking in your home stadium and attending in Miami.

Here are the lucky fans for December:

December 4: Buffalo Bills
December 18: New York Jets
December 24: Tennessee Titans

Go Patriots!

Can a billionaire do any better? I doubt that one did.

There were at least two billionaires at the game. One was Dolphins owner, Wayne Huizenga, and the other was Patriots owner, Bob Kraft. Mr. Huizenga arrived ostentatiously in a tiny helicopter just before game time. He left less ostentatiously, but very quickly, after the game. His helicopter was in the air while I was still walking down the ramp from the top level of the stadium. I guess he didn't want to celebrate at the stadium. I'm pretty sure that I had a better time than he did.

Mr. Kraft may have had more fun than I did. If I ever meet him, I'll ask him.

But at least one of the two billionaires was bound to be unhappy that day. Perhaps selling out the stadium made Mr. Huizenga a little less glum. But would any real football fan be glad of a loss, even if it was profitable? I doubt it.


N.B. As you can tell, I'm experimenting with color. Let me know what you like and what I should change about my use of color. Many thanks to Linda Grace for her suggestions which I am following!

Please let me know what else you would like to learn, and I'll do my best to help in future blog entries.

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May God bless you.

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell


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