Sun, 05 Jan 2014 00:37:10 GMT —
Some 28-hour stretches of life are more interesting than others.
The plan for this venture hatched around 9 p.m. Thursday. The voyage was launched at 5 a.m. Friday, as seven of us piled into a motor home.
They call these things motor homes because they are truly a house on wheels. There is one big difference, however --- your house gets better gas mileage.
Okay, two differences --- the door on the refrigerator at your house is less likely to fly open when you make a turn.
We arrived in Dallas mid-afternoon and settled in for a fabulous meal at a place called Pappisito's. Here's what we had:
* Shrimp the size of your cat.
* Succulent ribs --- the meat fell off the bone just by looking at it.
* Steak and chicken strips that were more tender than a marriage proposal.
All of it was seasoned to perfection and was amazingly great.
This is the way God intended dead animals to taste.
(Sorry, I didn't take pictures of the food as many of you do, then share them on Facebook. I really don't care what I eat, let alone what you eat. And I certainly don't need to see visual evidence. Maybe it's just me.)
Next, it was off to AT&T Stadium, Jerry's World, and the 78th annual Cotton Bowl. The 15-mile drive took about two hours.
On this day, I was not a member of the working media (like we actually work), so for the first time in more than 30 years, I had to pay money to watch a football game.
We separated into groups two groups of two and one of three, since we knew there was no chance of getting seven tickets together. It was time to scalp tickets.
"Where are the seats and how much?" I asked the first guy I saw holding up two tickets.
"50 yard line, second level, only $80 a ticket!" he said excitedly.
"Hmmm. I'll give you 70 apiece," I said slyly, yet sternly.
"You're obviously a man who knows his tickets! I'm not going to get anywhere with you! Deal."
The deal was done and I proudly walked away. Soon, I realized I had paid $20 over face value, per ticket. The other guys got their tickets at about half price, since the game was nearly 10,000 fans short of a sellout.
Oddly enough, our tickets were not on the 50. Or on the second level.
They were in the corner of an end zone, in the highest section, a few rows beyond the top of the stadium. It was like watching a football game in an ant farm.
Luckily, the stadium has a TV screen/scoreboard the size of a Super Walmart, and that's how I watched the game. It's 160 x 72 feet, or 11,520 square feet. It cost $40 million and weighs 1.2 million pounds. This would not have been on sale for $98 on Black Friday.
We recently addressed a few other fun facts about Jerry's World, home of the Cowboys, but some are worth repeating.
* Cost to build was $1.3 billion, it opened in 2009 and is the largest domed stadium in the world.
* The stadium itself spans 73 acres --- 73 acres! --- covers three million square feet and has 104 million feet of cubic volume. In other words, it's bigger than most cities. By comparison, the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis covers 14 acres.
* Average ticket price for a Cowboys game is $159 --- much more if you're lousy at scalping tickets.
* Cost of the stadium's 20-inch pizza is $60. At that price, it should be delivered by Jerry Jones, himself.
* Cost of a suite ranges from $100,000-$500,000 a season.
Jerry's World is American excess at its absolute best/worst, and is just another reason the rest of the world hates us.
Anyway, after climbing Mt. Everest, we quickly noticed we were sitting next to a Missouri fan. Black and gold, from head to toe, you know. I was wearing a purple shirt, but wanted to make myself known.
So I did the Tiger mating call.
"M-I-Z," I said to our new friend.
"Z-O-U!" he said with much more vigor.
We were not in a block of Missouri fans, however, it was about 50-50. After 30 years of sitting in a quiet press box, I'd forgotten how loud and annoying fans can be.
"Call them both ways, ref! You're terrible! How much money do you have on Missouri!"
This was after a delay of game call.
My new MU fan soon noticed I wasn't cheering. Or booing. Or yelling at the refs.
There's no cheering, booing or yelling in the press box, after all. Habits formed for three decades are hard to erase in three hours --- or in the case of this game, a staggering 4 hours, 19 minutes.
"Hey!," he clamored midway through the first quarter. "I thought you were a Tiger fan! Why aren't you cheering?"
"Oh, my bad," I said. "I forgot."
I had confused my new friend.
The rest of the game, he reminded me of this fact by glaring at me after a good play by Missouri. So at the appropriate times, I clapped. I even managed to scream a few "That's terrible!" after calls went against the Tigers.
At one point, I was shooing a fly away from my face and he gave me a high-five. Obviously, we were now BFFs.
As for the game ...
The Tigers overcame a 10-point deficit in the first half and a four-point deficit in the final 88 seconds to beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 41-31. Total points scored in MU's final two games? 173.
Henry Josey ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 3:08 left. Shane Ray returned a fumble 73 yards for the game-clinching score with 55 seconds left.
I clapped really loudly.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel became the winningest coach in school history (102 wins, breaking the tie with Don Faurot), as the Tigers recorded just their second 12-win season in school history --- both have come under Pinkel.
Anyway, that was that. We headed back to the motor home and headed home.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, 28 hours after this adventure started, it was over.
I think I'll sleep the next 28.