Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Return to Detroit- On Stranger Tides


 After a magical 2009 season with the Minnesota Vikings, rumors were swirling that Brett Favre would retire. "Favre Watch" is what it was called. Hoping for one more kick at the can, I was keeping an eyeing on the Detroit Game at the end of the 2010 season & with my luck by week 2 of the season I picked up 2 front row tickets off of E-Bay, face value for the pair!. Plan was to see Favre play one last time....

    When January arrived hopes to see Favre play were slim, the season really turned out to be a disaster.

 My brother had grabbed 2 tickets exactly 4 rows behind mine, to make it a Mancation type of event. THE GUYS: Myself a family man, huge football fan. My best friend Jack, my little brother Sam and his(our) friend Ed.  THE PLAN: leave 3:30 am Sunday morning get passed the border (with cheap beer in hand) and call the hotel to let them know we were getting there early. Start tailgating as soon as we get to our room, followed by tailgating in the same parking lot as we did last time & order from the same Pizza Papalis. Drink and stuff our faces with delicious pizza before our walk to the game. Why try to recreate the wheel, right?

 Sunday arrived and I had slept for about an hour because I like always was too excited. I started the pick-ups, everyone was smiling and Warren had muffins! (Who doesn't love muffins?). We’re off.... stopping at 2 Tim Hortons,  a gas station, the duty free and a Nice border guard(not really) on the way. With all that going on we still made it to the Greektown Casino Hotel by 10:00am we had no problems getting checked in early which was a huge relief. We all felt very relaxed in our very nice room, we were pumped for the day.

 We had decided that the hotel room could no longer hold us we wanted to be down with the fans at the parking lot. So we arrived at our old stomping grounds from back in Sept 09. Bundled up for the weather, which was a chilly -7! The tailgating began, along with the laughs!!

On this day I also did the nicest thing I had done all year, I gave a homeless guy a beer because he asked for it (kinda like jesus) He was a nice man on tough times. Remember it was January 2nd & we were freezing our butts off, so we ordered a delicious large one from Pizza Papalis which we ate up rather quickly. Having found out that Favre would be sitting out we picked up our pride and put our faith into Joe Webb. Time passed quickly with good laughs and in no time we were off.  Four of us decked out in Vikings Gear; we were there to have fun regardless of who was throwing the ball for our team.

   We walked about a 100 Steps and we could here Lions fans being true diehard fans of their own yelling at us as we walked by. One guy yelled "Are you kidding me?!" at my Brett Favre Flag. I laugh at it now, but then it wasn't that funny. It was a big change of scenery from a Sunny September Sunday, Where we had the last laugh. A different wind was blowing; the Lions Fans new today was not our day that there team would have the last laugh. They were right.  It was a bad game for us Vikings Fans. The only good parts were the awesome front row seats and when Jared Allen had a Pick Six. In no time it was over. We were grumpy and had enough of these Lions Fans.

   As we walked with our heads held high out of the stadium, we heard the Lions fans start up, one dude yelled "Vikings Suck". NOW ITS ON! Sam with his very quick wit says back "Remember 0-16?!?! I do!" then they kept exchanging harsh (funny)smack talk, when I look up to my right and a very LARGE Black Man with a Lions Jersey, a Phantom of the Opera mask and a scowl on his face was looking right at our group. It was apparent he had not liked my brother's comment "0-16?" he said "why does everybody got to bring that up." I say back to the gentleman "he's been drinking, don't listen to him." (Meaning my brother) I said with a smile trying to diffuse his anger, and Warren yet again had won over the lions fans with his persistent smack talk.  As I’m saying to myself "please let us just get back to the hotel" and by this point my brother noticed this situation I was in.(Large unhappy black man). All was good though, he was a nice man.  We made it to the hotel safe and sound, thank god!

     After a much needed 3 hour nap the young guys were up first and dressed to kill. Jack and I decided to go out for a bit with them but we were in rough state. We had a buffet dinner which was pretty good with lots of selections. We headed off to the casino. We stuck to coin slots while the young guys headed to the card tables. We lost some money and decided to head back to watch the rest of the games on the boob-tube. 15 minutes of relaxation and the phone rings its Sam “Meet us at the bar we just won some money!”  I was in shock “ok we’ll saddle up” The night was then spent in the hotel sports bar drinking beers and watching the end of the game. It was a perfect way to end the night, until the desire of tasting good burger came to mind. It was an all out desperate search for a Burger at 11:30 at night. After a long search in the casino, No Burgers... a harsh reality check. So we decided to retire for the night.

     Sam and Ed decided to order room service. A brilliant idea. Jack and I opted out of the room service, we were more tired than hungry. Although it did smell good when it got there. We watched TV & settled into bed until the 3 of us were awoken to the sound of the shower and a horrible gagging noise "What the hell is that?" grunted Jack. "ya? what is that?" said Fred. Me on the other hand knew exactly what it was. I have heard it once before in a Minneapolis Hotel about a year before.  I said rather quickly "Its my brother throwing up in the shower... Its alright go back to sleep." a quietness filled the room for a minute. "Why?" Ed and Jack both said tiredly "I don't know but he's done it before" and then we laughed ourselves back to sleep. 

    The next morning we decided to leave around 10am. It was just 10 minutes to the border and once we were there, the guard says to us "tough season for you guys"  quick witted reaction from my brother again "That's Right Last place Champs". After a chuckle from the guard we're back in Canada! Hungry for Breakfast!
  Looking Back we braved the cold and the fans in Detroit. Also the weight loss I have had since then is pretty noticeable. Great memories and a bad game. That happens far too much for die hard football fans.... Speaking of die hard I remember talking to a fan he said "if this was the  Pontiac Silverdome and you were cheering for the away team, and you talked good smack, they would've probably killed you..." This stuck with me the whole game.


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