Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Journey to Jerry's House

....and by that I mean Dallas Cowboys Stadium! What a Labor Day weekend we have had!! After a busy busy work week, Forrest and I were THRILLED to have the opportunity to go see Alabama play Michigan in their opener in Dallas! The fun started bright and early Friday morning. Forrest was working in Anniston, which is on the way to Atlanta, which is where our flight departed, so he hitched a ride with Denise so I could pick him up along the way to save time. I had plans to drive his car that day but it didn't start when I was leaving for work so I just drove mine. Well, Forrest thought we should probably just try to jump his off so as to not put many miles on mine, so I spent the afternoon dealing with that. It wasn't that big of a deal, it was just HOT!! To be safe, I ran it by the Honda dealership for them to take a look at it. As it turns out, the battery was DEAD so I had to buy another one and have it installed before we left. I was undaunted by this tiny hiccup and was even able to get to the clinic early!! As a treat, we had TCBY for dinner--that is what being an adult is all about, right? Then, we drove straight to Turner Field to watch the Braves play the Phillies with my brother and his friends. We had amazing seats in left field by the foul pole. We were on the end so we were able to watch the Phillies pitchers warm up. 
Roy and Papelbon, the Phillies closer who beat us!

Two home run balls actually hit a couple of rows behind us, AND Forrest and I were on the jumbotron!! How exciting! The Braves lost in the end but we still stayed for the Friday night fireworks. I have to admit this was my favorite part of the night!!! 
Smiling with the foul pole

We spent the night with Roy and got up at the CRACK of dawn to make our flight to Dallas. The plane was filled with Bama fans which made the trip so much fun! I was sitting next to a girl who was on her way to see the Tide play for the first time ever, plus, she was sitting in a sky box. What a first experience she must have had! The flight was really smooth and quick and before we knew it we were in our rented Crown Victoria (for real, this was the "premium" car they offered--we looked like cops all weekend) heading to the Gaylord Texan hotel. 
Forrest posing with our ride

Ben and Julianne had booked a weekend at the Gaylord and were sweet enough to invite us to shack up with them for our one night in TX. It was great to be able to spend some one on one time with them AND to be in the team hotel! The atmosphere was amazing!! I was sad that we didn't get there early enough to see many of the players or coaches, but it was a great time nonetheless!
I am embarrassed to say that I have no idea which player this is!!

The team's schedule for the day!

We had lunch in the sports before donning our game day gear and heading to Dallas Cowboys Stadium. 
HUGE tv in the bar

Enjoying their own personal tap

Honestly, if the game hadn't been in such a cool venue, Forrest and I probably won't have spent the time or money to go that far away for such a short period of time. Upon seeing the stadium for the first time, all of that became totally worth it. My oh my that thing is HUGE! It seriously looks like a spaceship, or a transformer beetle (both of my astute descriptions). 
Me and Ben with the stadium

ROLL TIDE!!

After finding a primo parking spot, we were determined to find some of our friends and tailgate. On the way, we stopped at the Fanfare and played some games and got some autographs! 
Me with Dallas Cowboy great Jay Novachek (sp??)

Bama legend Cornelius Bennett!

By the time we were fanfared-out, it was 102 degrees and we were roasting. We elected to head inside the stadium instead of braving the heat. This was a GREAT idea as it was perfectly air conditioned inside the stadium, AND there was so much to see and do! Forrest and I wandered around taking it all in for a while. It was so overwhelming!! 



After we made it to our seats, the frenzy began. Our band played, their band played. They showed both teams' pre-game videos on the ENORMOUS jumbotron. The bands got on the field and played. The teams ran out. OMG, seriously, we were all so hyped up by that time it was crazy. The stadium did a great job of getting the fans into it and keeping the excitement level sky high. I was super nervous about the game because it was the first game and we hadn't had time to work out any kinks, plus, we were playing Michigan, ranked number 8. It really felt like it was anyone's game! During our first series, we went three and out. I was so nervous I told Forrest that I needed to leave--there was no way I could sit in there and lose in that atmosphere!! Luckily we turned it around on the next drive and were up 21 to 0 in the 1st half and won 41-14! Hooray!!! I screamed and cheered and pulled the team through so hard that I was exhausted by the end of the game. I even broke a blood vessel in my eye, probably from all of the shrieking I was doing! It felt wonderful to welcome in the new football season in such a dominating fashion!!! RTR!!
Check out that score!

Yay!!! What a win!

We were so tired and hot after the game that Julianne and I went straight to the room to take showers and put on our pjs, and the boys weren't far behind us, after a quick stop for a celebratory drink at the sports bar. We stayed up watching Sports Center before totally crashing. The next morning Forrest and I said goodbye to the Gartons and went to Mass at St. Francis of Assisi church. They played GREAT music, although my scratchy voice inhibited my singing ability! Afterwards we were SO excited to get to meet Forrest's Aunt Carol for lunch! She lives in Dallas so we definitely wanted to see her while we were there. She took us to a Mexican restaurant called Cozymel's right outside of the Grapevine Mills shopping outlets. where we had AMAZING Mexican brunch!!! After catching, we headed to the outlets to kill time before our flight. These outlets were terrific! They had Legoland (where Forrest visited), an aquarium, ice skating rink, movie theater that served meals, and TONS of shops! I could have spent weeks in there! I was able to find some pretty cute things for some great prices before we had to leave for the airport. Usually I am the one in a hurry to get to the airport but I was so wrapped up in my bargain quest that Forrest had to drag me out of there! 
We arrived at the airport and celebrated with a victory sundae from the ice cream shop before heading to our gate. It was SO much fun to see everyone dressed in their red and white in support of the Tide, even on their way home! The gate to ATL was right next to the gate for passengers headed back to Michigan. Their gate was MUCH much quieter than ours!! We had a great flight home (I sat next to a gentleman who asked me if Alabama was any good at football and if our mascot was the Huskies--seriously? I guess there really is more to the world than football!) and were back at home by 10:30. 
The next day we both slept in SOOOO late! Thank goodness we had a day to rest and relax before having to go back to work. I'm still tired today and I can't imagine how I would have felt yesterday!!! We had lunch with the Baileys and then got some errands done and finished some things around the house. We took a lovely walk and ended up running into Paige and Susan on the way. It was great to see those girls!! Afterwards we had a yummy dinner with mom and dad and headed home early to get some sleep. We were so so lucky to have the opportunity to go to Texas and are thrilled about the upcoming season. Hope you are ready for lots of game day pics for the next few months!!!

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