Monday, September 26, 2011

The Right Way to Watch a Football Game

A few weeks ago, you may have read about our trip to Iowa City for the Iowa Hawkeye's season opener, and Cruz's first time watching a football game beyond our living room.  You may also recall how that day played out, complete with near hurricane conditions, lost (but then found) tickets, and about two minutes of witnessed regulation football.  It was nothing short of a disaster; however, I'm sure the memories will bring smiles to our faces years from now.

Saturday, we attempted another trip to Iowa City, this time without Cruz.  Beau found out on Wednesday that he had won a bonus through work which awarded him two tickets to see the Hawkeyes play from a luxury SUITE on the twenty yard line.  Since we weren't exactly sure what to expect, we decided to leave Cruz with Grandma and maybe have a chance to actually watch the game this time.  So, Saturday morning, under a partly cloudy sixty-degree sky, we drove to Iowa City feeling far less anxious than our last trip.  

We met up with Jillian at her friends' tailgate, the same Jillian who has quite a few connections to some Hawkeye bigwigs thanks to her job with Iowa City-Coralville Visitor's Bureau.  When game time neared, we said goodbye to Jill and entered some elite area of the stadium, complete with carpet, glass cases housing the numerous Hawkeye trophies, and bell boys in ties running the elevator system.  We were escorted to Farm Bureau Suite 103.  To say it was a room with a view is an understatement!

Minutes later, Jillian texted Beau to inform him she would be joining us for the game.  Soon after we left her tailgate, she scored an All-Access pass from her boss, a pass that gave her access to just about every nook and cranny on the premises.  As soon as she arrived, we noticed the suite next to ours was empty.  Eying the front row seats and full buffet of food next door, we casually snuck over to the next room, ignoring the sign plate on the door.

The suites were amazing.  Carpeted rooms with a fully functioning kitchen, bar tables, and three rows of stadium seating, all facing a gorgeous picture window overlooking the stadium.  The windows opened to let in the game day breeze, and the black and gold granite countertops were covered with every football food imaginable.  Chili and cornbread muffins, pepperoni pizza and chocolate chip cookies, fruit plates, cheese plates, and buffalo wings.  Even the popcorn was sprinkled with black and gold M and Ms.  We grabbed a plate and made ourselves comfortable, and were soon made strangers by a parade of 'regulars' in the Carver Suite.  Women adorned in bedazzled Hawks attire with diamond rings that weighed down their hands, men who talked of watching Hawkeye legends play decades before, and their stuck-up children who had clearly never watched a game from the student section below us.  The three of us acted as casually as we could, laughed at their dumb jokes, and played with their grandchildren.  I'm pretty sure our cover was blown by other actions, however, we could have cared less.  Our constant giggles, plates overfilled with food, and my attempts to stick my entire body out the window in order to snag a few pictures definitely made us look like first-timers.  

Trying to look snobbish whilst eating fresh shrimp...

Our star-quality treatment of the day didn't end with the 45-17 win over the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks.  After the game, Jillian's boyfriend, Rob, who works for one of the chief marketing companies of the Hawkeyes, gave us a tour of the press box, and let us sink our feet into the toasty field of Kinnick Stadium following the game.  Beau laid on the 50-yard line, I dreamed of Cruz crawling down the field, and Jillian totally biffed it while attempting to channel her inner-lineman!  While Rob was still on the job, the three of us ran around like little kids.  It was so much fun, and I only hope we can relive the experience someday with our littlest fan in tow.

The day was topped off with an autograph and picture of Ed Podolak, as well as an encounter with Gary Dolphin.  Such a turn of events from our last trip to Kinnick.  I know we won't sit in the Carver family suite every football game, but here's hoping Beau takes future Farm Bureau sales bonuses a little more serious!  It's an awfully great place to watch a game!

Wearing our green in support of Brett Greenwood. 

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