It was 4:30 a.m. when my alarm clock went off Sunday morning. I was tired from not being able to sleep the night before, but I got up and put three or four layers of warm clothes on. I was going to need it. Weather in Cleveland, Ohio was going to be 30 degrees with snow and wind.
It was still dark outside and everyone in my neighborhood was still asleep. When my friends pulled in my driveway, I put my excess coats and gloves in the trunk, said “Hey, man,” and sat down in the backseat. As the car pulled out of the driveway, my excitement started to build. We were going to see the Bears and Browns play, which would be my first NFL game.
It’s a five-hour trip from Northwest Indiana to Cleveland. Living near and always traveling to Chicago, I am used to cities being jam packed with cars and citizens walking the sidewalk. But like St. Louis and Indianapolis, Cleveland only seems to come alive on game day.
The now 4-10 Browns aren’t exactly a team to get excited for, and it showed once we entered the stadium and found our seats. Only about three-fourths of the stadium was filled, with plenty of empty seats in the 500 and even the 100 sections. It was then I realized why our tickets on Stubhub were only $7.
I have always been skeptical of going to watch the NFL love because there are a lot of stops in play, which means a lot of sitting, watching the players mull around as they wait for commercial breaks to end.
Then there is the possible viewing problem. NFL tickets tend to be on the expensive side, even for the nosebleed sections, and for someone who can only afford those sections, it seems better to stay at home and watch the game there. But for $7, going on a mini-road trip, and seeing “The Return” of Jay Cutler, I couldn’t say no, and I am glad I didn’t.
Maybe it was how close the game was, Jay Cutler “dominating” (the second half), or witnessing another unbelievable Alshon Jeffery catch, but I had more than an amazing time despite not being able to feel my fingers and toes the majority of the time.
The Bears still may not make the playoffs, and their defense is still atrocious for the most part, but I don’t regret going to the game at all. In fact, now I wish I could go to every Bears game.
As always, there’s something you can learn from your experiences, and this one taught me something special that I needed to be reminded of.
Going to the game was a spur-of-the-moment decision by one of my friends, and it reminded me that sometimes the most fun you can have in life comes from the things you didn’t plan for. As long as you have a few good people by your side, traveling into the unknown is worth it.