Saturday, December 30, 2006

We have been back from Florida for a couple of days and I'm sitting here watching some light snow fall out my window. We did quite a bit for a short trip, so I'll stretch the trip report out over several parts. We'll start with:

Sunday: New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars

We arrived at the Orlando airport about an hour late on Saturday afternoon. Our JetBlue flight was delayed by foggy, rainy weather at Logan. We recovered our luggage, got our rental car and drove out to Mom and Dad's house. During dinner, Dad asked if I wanted to watch the Patriots game against the Jaguars on Sunday. I said sure and he said, "Well, that's good, because we have tickets for the game." Needless to say, I was pretty surprised!

We left for Jacksonville, about 3 hours away, at 7:45 on Sunday morning since we had to stop at my brother's house and pick him up. (Waking up early would become a theme on this trip). Just as we were pulling onto the main road near my Dad's house we saw an SUV with Patriots flags flying out the windows and magnetic Pats helmets stuck to the doors. A. and the kids would arrive at my brother's house later with Mom and hang out with my sister-in-law and their cousins for the day. We got my brother, stopped at Starbucks to get some caffeine and headed north to Jacksonville.

It was a warm day (for December), but it rained on and off so our first stop was a Family Dollar store to pick up some ponchos. After that, we headed over to Alltel Stadium, home of the Jaguars. This is the first time I have ever been to a pro football game anywhere other than the old Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium - I haven't even been to Gillette! Alltel seemed pretty typical of the football stadium breed. We had decent seats in the second tier, near the end zone.

The game itself was pretty entertaining. The Pats ended up winning 24-21, clinching the AFC East title. We did sit near a group of pretty rowdy young Jags fans behind us. They did a lot of screaming at Brady during the game, calling him Ben Affleck and hosing on this GQ appearance. Jealous, I guess. There were also lots of Pats fans in the stands. This nearly led to an altercation with the annoying group behind us, but one of Jacksonville's finest came by and calmed things down.

There was one thing that I had some trouble with while watching a game live at the stadium instead of in HD on my TV. I have gotten very used to having the blue line of scrimmage and the yellow first down lines, so I had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly how far the ball had moved, especially on running plays. I got a bit better at it by the second half, but I have gotten way to dependent on my electronic crutches!

We headed back home after the game after getting out of the post-game traffic. On the way home, we stopped at Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits for a thoroughly unhealthy (but tasty) meal.

So it was a great day and a lot of fun seeing my team in a hostile environment. Believe it or not, despite the fact that I have been to around 40 major league baseball games away from Fenway, I have never seen the Red Sox play away from home.

So, thanks to Dad for picking up the tickets. It was a great time.


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