My son and daughter both have taken an interest playing some sports, but the boy is a true fan. NFL games on Sundays are one of the few times he and I agree on what to watch on TV. He even screams “I want football!” when the games go to commercial. What dad wouldn’t be proud of that?! That’s why it pains me that I’ll never take him to an NFL game and I’ll tell you why.
If I do anything that involves keeping score, I play to win. And if I’m winning you better believe you’ll be hearing about it. Even if I’m not winning there’s no guarantee I won’t be in your ear telling you how lucky you are that I’m not winning. This endearing trait of mine kicked on during one staff meeting early this fall when I brought up the idea of setting up a project team football team since we would all be around for a while. Playing for money seemed out of the question now that this was going to be an official work event, which for me meant bragging rights was all that was left, which was fine, because we have some major trash talkers on the team (myself included). A strange thing happened though…
We had about nine guys who would’ve played no matter what just to have something other than work to talk about. That was sub-optimal, but definitely doable, but since I announced it at the team meeting, the partner in charge of our project wanted to get more engagement from the rest of the our 50+ person team, so he decides he’s going to put down four tickets to a Patriots Monday night game – just a random four tickets to get into the stadium. That announcement got us up to about fourteen participants, which was perfect. We had a couple newbies (or n00bs as some like to say) that could double up with a wily veteran like myself, so it looked like we were all set. I sent out all the league invites and got people registered and this is where things took yet another interesting turn. The partner that said he’d put tickets down for this little team building exercise notifies me that he talked to his boss, and the boss thought getting four tickets was good enough to *meet* expectations but who wants to shoot for average? According to legend, the boss proceeded to give a number to call to get four “better” tickets. As it turns out, they were four club level seats, and oh yeah, they belonged to the CEO of our 250,000 person company. This newest development spiked the interest up to twenty-six people, so now I had to focus on re-shuffling all of the teams instead of plotting on how I would win these tickets to see my first NFL game. Needless to say, these seats are outside of my price range (I checked just to be sure).
Unfortunately, I didn’t win the league, but I was fortunate enough to be chosen by the winner as a recipient of one of the four tickets, and it was AWESOME just to be going to the game. As if that wasn’t good enough, we got yet another partner on the project to cover the food cost for tailgating,* and even though it rained, we had perfect weather by the time the game kicked off. And I don’t use the word perfect loosely – it was above the fifty degree mark for a Monday night game. In December. In Boston. So you see, the bar has been set so high now that it can only go downhill from here. That’s why I’ll never be able to take my son to an NFL game.** I’m sure he’ll understand one day.
*a bunch of other people bought their own tickets in the non-club level areas but we broke bread together before the game.
**I say this in jest… kinda.