Many introverts find themselves forced to go to events they would otherwise avoid. As an introverted theater kid, I have honed in my abilities to only go to events that have to do with the arts. However, after having successfully avoided going to a sporting event since a traumatic Paw Sox baseball game, I knew that the odds were starting to tip out of my favor.
When my friend called me and asked me if I would be interested in going to the Patriots playoff game, I said no. Then my mom said yes. And so, I went.
As appropriate towards my introvert training, I immediately began to prepare. I looked up the bag restrictions for the stadium and purchased a clear tote bag from Dick’s Sporting Goods. I then proceeded to shove every single one of my belongings into the bag.
Oh, and a book. Introverts always bring their chosen form of people repellent, and mine just so happened to be the written word.
My dad, who is very into the worlds of sportsball, wanted to know where we were sitting. Upon asking, I told him that we were 21 rows from the field.
Now, in theater, being so close to the stage is generally not great, since there tends to be the possibility of having only a partial view of the performers, and occasionally seeing up someone’s skirt. Apparently this is not the case when it comes to football. These were drool-worthy seats, and sitting in them was a coveted privilege.
For me, the more pressing concern was the possibility of getting hit in the face by a flying projectile, as I often do. Glasses tend to be a popular target amongst sports equipment.
Upon arriving at the venue, I was immediately bombarded by the sheer size of the stadium, and the amount of people flooding the entrances, all dressed in their Patriots finest. In retrospect, my sleepy sloth shirt may not have been the most appropriate apparel.
Then began the longest three hours of my life. As soon as we sat down, I was immediately whisked up again to get drinks and chicken tenders. I was then sat down again, only to have to stand up three more times to let other people into the row.
Now, this would not have bothered me if it had not been for the couple next to us. About fifty times during those three hours, these two kept getting up to go to the bathroom, whilst fisting about five beers in their hands. They either had very small bladders or a serious medical problem.
Although annoying, they did not compare to the absolute horror of a man sitting behind me, who repeatedly jumped out of his seat, hitting me in the back of the head with his beer gut in the process. In any other situation, I would have turned around and politely asked if he could be a little more careful, if not for encouraging chants to the players.
“C’mon Tommy boy, rips his f****** head off!”
“Break their f****** legs!”
Best not to disturb him.
The thing I found most surprising however, was that the game kept randomly stopping for about three-four minutes at a time. Finally, I turned to my friend. Apparently, they had to stop for the commercial break. What you generally don’t see during this time is that they just stand there, both teams separated by one of the referees, glaring very intimidatingly at each other. For three minutes. And all of a sudden they would go back to the positions they were in before. I have honestly never seen anything so absurd.
All in all, it was not as terrible an experience as I expected it to be. I got to hang out with my friend, eat junk food, and experience a girls bathroom during halftime. According to the blonde girl at the sink, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the Celine Dion concert.
And ma’am, I am inclined to agree. After all, I’m pretty sure the Celine Dion concert didn’t have cotton candy.