It's the first, and I assume, last time I will ever be in a professional football stadium. Because I just don't care. SORRY. I just don't. Football is lost on me. Most sports are. I'm a girl. I was raised with ballet and crafts, not balls and bats.
After I graduated from college, the football and baseball bandwagon stopped by my house and while everyone else was jumping on, I missed it. I was probably doing this or maybe this and I wouldn't be surprised if I was doing this. But I definitely was NOT doing this. Anyway, the bandwagon pulled away and there went my mother, my sisters and even my father. But he only had one leg in. He can't be fully invested in sports.
While I continued to live in a world where I didn't know one Manning from the other, Tom Brady's name really just made me think of the Brady Bunch and Ochocinco impressed me only on Dancing With the Stars, my sisters were busy following the Patriots, getting my mother a jersey to wear (was it Vinateri? did he play baseball? do baseball players wear jerseys?) and scoring tickets to games whenever they could.
That's right. My family that didn't watch a single sports game in my entire childhood suddenly had to put everything on hold because it's 1pm on Sunday and there's a game on. I walked into my parents' house to find my mother, and sometimes my father, so engrossed in the game that if I had burst into flames, they would have waited until the end of a quarter to put me out.
Going to Gillete Stadium to see a game when she came home for a visit was suddenly not beyond a-ster's plans. Getting excited to have friends over to watch a regular season game was probably the reason e-ster bought her own house.
So back to my conference. It was a tech conference for teachers. They had an opening welcome in a swanky restaurant thing (I am so out of touch, I have no clue, but I think only certain levels of ticket holders can go there) and then the mini sessions were in the boxes.
It should have come as no surprise to me when I sent my sisters this picture:
...and they immediately wrote back WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT GILLETTE??
Seriously, I didn't even have to show them the name on the building. I never thought we'd be the kind of family that could name a stadium just buy looking at the glass.
So, the boxes were kind of nice, but for a conference, they were too small. I guess if you were seriously going to watch the game with friends or clients, this would be an exciting way to do it. But it didn't impress me much. They have their own bars and TV screens and seats facing out.
I was amazed at the screen. When you get close to it, like this, it's really just a bunch of lightbulbs. And it's a huge screen. Ridiculously huge. And it was playing stuff the whole time.
This was the view from one of the boxes. I actually made me a little dizzy and I'm not one to be bothered by heights. I think if the stadium had been full and people had been on the field, I might have not noticed the dizziness. See the wire in the middle top? I have no idea what it was, but it went from there to the end zone on the right. I spent a lot of time imagining that it was a zip line. That made me even more dizzy.
The conference wasn't as awesome as I thought it might be. The freebies weren't so great because there was a lot of pressure to listen to the people talk about their product before giving you the free post its or pencils or whatever teachers want to take back to their classrooms. I'm used to foreign language association conferences where they give so much free stuff I have to bring another bag home.
And I got in trouble.
A friend of mine had driven because she knew where it was and I thought it was like a million miles away. Turns out, it's not as far as I thought. And it was nice to have a chauffeur.
About halfway through the day, the Patriots came to practice, but out on a practice field. There was a warning in the conference guide that if they came to practice, you were not to take ANY pictures AT ALL.
So I didn't.
We noticed a huge increased in "security" when they arrived. Lots of people standing around in suits, especially near the gangway that went by where they were practicing. They weren't as covert as they'd like to think they were. But I had no intentions of taking pictures or videos and I certainly couldn't steal any secrets because I care so little about the game.
As we were leaving the building, we noticed 2 suits near the escalator we were taking down. I noticed one of them on a phone and noted that if I had wanted to, I could totally have taken a picture at that point, but I didn't care.
We exited the building a little further down from where we had entered and we were a little discombobulated. We were leaving slightly early, so we seemed to be the only people leaving. We were very engrossed in a conversation about a cool thing she had seen about video taping kids and having a green screen and we were contemplating how to get a grant to get this little product. We were headed toward her car which was about 3 sections of parking lot away and we started to cut through.
A man who looked like a parking attendant with a golf car asked us if we knew where we were going and we explained that our car was just over there. No, we didn't need to be driven over, we could walk, thanks. Just right over there, by the portapotties. And we kept walking.
And he was like "you can't be in there, you can't be in there, you need to get out of there, get out of there now" and we were both kind of stuck in confusion.
My friend was slightly further behind, so she just walked around this fencepost thing, but I was kind of trapped, so I saw an exit like one car width away. I kept walking and the guy was like "ma'am get out of there now, you need to get out of there NOW" and I was like "really, you expect me to squeeze between these fencposts? It's like 6 inches wide" and he was like "YES NOW." and my friend was like "sparkling, just get out here!"
My friend jokingly said "what, is this the players' parking lot?" and he was like "umm yeah".
As we crossed to the building side of the lot so we could get to her car in a more appropriate manner, we noticed another suit had just come out of the building and another was waiting up on one of the levels near the escalator we had just come down.
SERIOUSLY? Two teachers were going to destroy a player's car? There were no signs. They didn't have a "special" part of the lot like I would expect. No "reserved" signs. Nothing would have indicated that these were players' cars if that big mouth hadn't said anything.
We're teachers for God's sake! We were talking about TECHNOLOGY we can't afford for our classroom, that we want to get a stinking $200 grant to buy! Not plotting bugging Belechek's car.
Wait, then we could have sold the secrets and bought enough equipment for the whole school to video tape kids! We are so dumb!!