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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Happy Cardinals' Game Memory

This is a big weekend for many folks around here because tomorrow our Phoenix Cardinals are playing in the Super Bowl. This hasn't been a football-crazed town because up until quite recently, the team has been rather lousy. Still, most have jumped on the NFL bandwagon and will be wearing red clothing and cheering for the local team on Sunday.

I remember the first Cardinals game I ever attended like it was yesterday. I was 32 years old and settling into my newly-divorced status. About 2 months before this game, I had gone back to work at the request of my pool man. Yes, I have John ("the best from the west") to thank for setting me out into the real world after my divorce. He came late to my house one day so I jumped out to ask why he was late and did the storm last night make all the pool's he was cleaning a difficult task. He sat me down and said I probably should try leaving the house every once and awhile and that he shouldn't be my only adult conversation I have each week. Well, he was as handsome as they come, but I was not some hot-to-trot divorcee looking for some action. It was, however, nice to speak to someone who a) was over 6 years old and b) didn't add "on the basketball court" after every sentence I spoke. I agreed with him and proceeded to get a job.

I went to work for the Fiesta Bowl as the assistant ticket manager. I figured that the work would be mindless and the atmosphere would be fun. I could meet people at some of the social functions without actually dating or planning a girlfriend get-together. Except for the long hours leading up to the big Fiesta Bowl game, the job worked out just as I had thought. I was surrounded by interesting people who were all enjoying their lives to the fullest. Now, I had been blissfully happy having been married to my first husband for 10 years, then 1 year of holing up at home with my 1-yr, 4-yr and 6-yr old and wasn't at all prepared for this next phase in my life. This year was bound to be one of the most confusing and crazy years of my entire life.

I met this guy on the F.B. Committee, named Bill (yes, another Bill! And this is before I met my 2nd husband, also named Bill) and he was dreamy. I had some sort of weird crush on him, but he was not at all interested in the woman with three young kids, if you know what I mean. However, Bill had a young assistant in his successful business who would come into the ticket department who apparently had no qualms about me having "baggage" and the fact that I was six years older. He was charming and handsome and flirted with me shamelessly, which did a world of good for my lack of security. To this day, I have no idea why this fellow was so nice to me. And then it happened.

One Friday afternoon, he stepped into the ticket office area, sat on my desk and asked if I would go to the Cardinals-Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday. Now, it was mid-September and the temperature at kickoff was probably going to be over 105 degrees. The Cardinals had won maybe one game all season the past year, so the only people in the stands would be the die hard Cowboy fans. He said he had gotten the tickets from his Dad who I would meet at the game and all I heard was "you and my Dad will probably get along because you are closer in age than the two of us are". "Well", he said, "are you free?" Free as a least until 7 pm when the kids return from their Father's house. Wait, I cannot say that and will the game be over by that time? After a seriously long pregnant pause, I said I would love to go, yet I was kicking myself under the desk. My first date since my divorce, with a younger guy I know nothing about except that he is adorable and friendly and has a good relationship with his Dad and that he likes the Cardinals football team, even though they are really crappy.

I start sweating the details: what to wear, what to say, how to get home in time for the kids bath time. I decide to wear jeans and a red sleeveless shirt. I decide to tell him about my college days, living in Atlanta when the Falcons were terrible but we would go to some of the games. I read up on the predictions and the star players so I wouldn't sound like some airhead older divorcee. And I decided to meet him there just in case the game ran long and I needed to skip out early and be home for my babies to arrive home.

The nice thing about younger, carefree kind of guys is that they don't sweat the little things in life. He told me I looked great, was surprised I "knew so much about football" and he said bath time sounded cool and maybe WE could do that together sometime!

We had a few more amazing dates together and then I stopped hearing from him altogether. Years later I ran into him and he told me he was married and they were expecting their first child. We hugged and said goodbye once again.

I often think that someone upstairs put this special man/boy really, into my life for a reason. He eased me back into the adult world, saying, everything is going to be okay. You are okay, your life is okay. Family is important and staying with and supporting your home team is good no matter whether they are winning or losing. I imagine that he will be enjoying tomorrow's game with his new family. I thank him for setting me in the right direction and will forever associate him with the Phoenix Cardinals team.

Go Cards!

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Blogger Casey said...

Woo hoo, go Cardinals. You didn't go to your first game until you were 32? Wow! The superbowl is here in Tampa today and there are fans everywhere (mostly Steelers, sorry). It's exciting though.. .good luck to your team.

February 1, 2009 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I think everyone needs a "Bill" in their life - or maybe two or three?

February 2, 2009 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Juli J said...

I didn't go to my first professional football game until I was 35, and now I'm going to marry the man that dragged me!

February 2, 2009 at 1:39 PM  

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