Some of you may be aware the Super Bowl is this week and taking place here in Indianapolis. Had my beloved Saints made it to the big game, I planned to spend every free second I had downtown soaking in the festivities and making every attempt to meet as many players as possible. I would have documented my adventures here at GG (note the new nickname…clever isn’t it?) At the end of the week I would have cobbled together all the posts and passed them along to someone in the Saints organization, who’d pass them along to Breesus, who would have been so impressed that he’d ask me to play the role of his son in the next Nyquil commercial. Sadly this dream was not realized. Thanks a lot Vernon Davis.
Crushed dreams notwithstanding, I headed Downtown Sunday to take in the NFL experience at the Indianapolis convention center. I took along my trusty sidekick Hummus, who served as photographer and snark buddy. Whenever I go to large events or on random adventures I like to have someone with me to take potential Facebook profile pictures and listen me make snide remarks about complete strangers. I am currently taking applications. Please feel free to apply in the comments section or on the Gnu Glasses fan page.
One of the perks of my ticket was the ability to enter the Experience two hours before it opened to the general public. This would allow me to take in most of the activities without the hassle a line. I had every intention of taking advantage of this perk but got distracted by the conclusion of a 6-hour tennis match on TV between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Tennis always comes first.
Hummus and I arrived about thirty minutes before the Experience officially opened. The crowds had formed. We spent about an hour waiting to get a close up with the Lombardi trophy and taking turns getting drafted by our favorite teams (Hummus is a Colts fan…poor kid). By the time we got to the area where the interactive events were the lines were deep. The thrill of throwing a football at a cardboard cutout for 30 seconds wasn’t enough offset the inevitable 45 minute wait. Instead we walked around looking for photo opportunities and unsuspecting strangers to judge.
There were lots of opportunities for photos at the Experience. My favorite was the collection of headless statues of football players. Visitors could hop on the back of the statues and take pictures as if they were a member of their favorite team. All 32 teams were represented though not all in the same spot. This led to a scavenger hunt for the Saints’ statue (the Colts statue was prominently displayed at the entrance…sigh). Hummus and I lapped the building twice in search of the elusive black and gold statue before I tracked down an employee who told me exactly where it was. When we reached the area, I scanned the room. Before Hummus could point out the statue I was already there. I let out an involuntary gasp and ran toward it like a kid in a candy store. It took everything in my power to not shove the blonde haired kid on the statue out of my way. I waited my turn, hopped up, took my picture, and was ready for the rest of the day.
After the photo session, we made it to a tented area with more games. There was a Madden football station set up. Hummus and I started a game. I hadn’t played in years. I was excited and scared all at the same time though not for the reason you might think.
When I was younger, I could spend an entire day playing Madden. It was not unusual for me to wake up, plop down in front of my PS2 and play a full 16-game schedule plus playoff games. In my heyday I was as good at Madden football as I currently am at Scrabble. It was intense. That kind of gaming didn’t leave much room for a social life so I made a conscious effort to put down the joystick and join the real world.
Quitting Madden is a lot like giving up cocaine: it’s best to do it cold turkey. You can do it recreationally every once in a while with friends but there is still the outside chance it could lead to a relapse. Before you know it, you’re doing it every day alone naked in your darkened apartment ignoring friends and family.
Taking all that into account I played anyway. I came out on top despite my rust and the difficulty of figuring out an Xbox 360 controller. The gift never goes away. When I get some free time, I may have to make an investment in that game again.
All in all it was a good day. After we left the Experience we hung out in the Super Bowl Village, the land of free concerts and 8 dollar beers. We spotted a couple of ESPN announcers and Elmo then headed home. I may not have met any Saints that day but it was still a great experience.