Falcons vs. Bengals – Football 101

This weekend I managed to make it to my first Falcons game in several years as part of my new season ticket package. Some guys at work hold a block of five seats; one guy from last year dropped out, so I picked up the seat. The seats are pretty good for $125 (all home games including preseason) – they are fairly high up behind the endzone opposite of the score board/TV matrix display. Cheap seats they are, but they do offer a good view for the money.

There was no time to tailgate since I had baby sitting duties for most of the morning through lunch. Plus the kids had to have a nap, which would really hamper my efforts to take my six-year-old son, Joshua, to his first ever sporting event. I am sure the guys will have some better tailgating sessions lined up for the regular season. We will have to just to afford to go, what with beer at $7 per cup. Freaking ridiculous.

I lived in Atlanta for about six years and did not mind it one bit, except for the traffic, which really does suck as much as you read about. We decided to part south of downtown and do the Marta thing – its smarter, so the slogan goes. Parking at the Marta stations is free, and a round trip to the Dome and back was $3.50, which I suppose is not too bad.

Joshua was pretty excited about his first train ride. Thankfully he did not ask me the unanswerable questions about what some of the young punks were singing on the train. Would not have been a pretty sight – that junk was making me blush. Of course that is the price you pay for taking Marta – you have to mingle with inner city thugs that would sooner kick the shit out of you than say “excuse me.”

Poor Joshua. After we got off the train we had to walk, and walk, and walk just to get to our gate at the Dome. Of course our tickets are on the far said of the considerably large stadium. Once safely inside, we had to walk, and walk, and walk again, to go up, up, up to the seats. Joshua did great – he was taking in the sights and sounds, watching pregame warm-ups as we migrated from level to level, oblivious to the fact that it was going to cost a ton for dad to drink a few beers.

Anyway, enough about getting to the game. The game was great if you are a Falcons fan (a nice 37-10 shellacking), but unimpressive if you were there to see Vick, who was scratched from the game as a last minute precaution. Schaub looked like the second coming of Montana. OK, maybe that is a stretch, but he looked really good against Cincinnati’s number one defensive unit.

Joshua was very disappointed that Vick was not playing, but since the Falcons were winning, and scoring at will, he was happy. Tonya, my wife, presented him with a replica Vick shirt right before we left for the game – he was truly happy to have a shirt like dad’s. So we got over Vick not playing, learned a little about football, learned about cheerleaders, and learned how to “boo” the opposing team. Of course I explained that we do not dislike the opposition, we just want our team to win. Something like that to keep his mother from tearing into my hide. I figured the cheerleaders were going to get me in enough trouble so I better explain the booing.

The best part of the game for me was taking Joshua to see a “real” football game. He was a real trooper. The game started at 7:30PM, which is pretty much his normal bed time. He was wide-eyed for most of the 1st quarter, but midway through the 2nd quarter he was ready to go home. He managed to hang in there for the better part of 3 quarters, so all in all his performance was quality stuff!

My parents divorced when I was fairly young, so I do not have memories of my dad taking me to my first football or baseball game. I am not sure who will have the fondest memories of our Falcons experience – I think I will always remember my son’s expressions, and hopefully he will become a lifelong sports fan thanks to his outing with dad.

Father/son bonding is great! I now understand some of those “priceless” Visa commercials – I did spend $50 on food, adult beverages, and mass transit passes, but it was worth every penny to share the experience with my son.


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