Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Cinderella Story

Last Saturday my sweet grandfather took me to the football game. We did not sit amongst the common folk. No. He had skybox tickets. I never asked how he got them. I'd rather not know. But he asked me to be his date and he didn't need skybox tickets to persuade me to go.

I realize I'm a walking contradiciton when it comes to UT football. You'll hear me ranting about how much money Knoxville blows on the football program, how much trash fans throw on the ground, and how much I loathe the idea of luxury condominiums being rented out downtown six saturdays out of the year, BUT...

My parents took my sisters and me to games growing up. We drove all the way from Memphis with our flag flapping in the wind. Everyone was so excited, and I was, too.

I admit, it started as an adoration of the band. The Power T never ceases to make me weepy. Slowly my affections grew into actually paying attention to the game. I know exactly when to cheer. Most of the time.

But every game thus far has been a preparation for my skybox debut. My grandfather and I sauntered up to Gate 26, a gate in itself that towers to the heavens. Everyone smiled at us, even the woman who checked my purse, a vast comparison to being corralled into the student gates. The elevator man pushed the button for us. The sports broadcast was humming out of the speakers. The doors opened, and we were there.

A deep freezer full of ice cream, boxes of popcorn, a full buffet, coffee, soft drinks, and my favorite, one of the best views in the Knoxville. Each skybox was stocked with alcohol. I think that's supposed to be a secret. So don't tell.

Each room was like a tiny glass theater, the stage being the field a mile below. The walls were glass so you could see everone all the way down in their little skyboxes. All I could think about was how much each of these people paid to get there- somewhere between $2 and 30 thousand?

My only complaint was that I couldn't shake a shaker or sing Rocky Top without looking a little crazy. I sat in the air-conditioning, ate ice cream and drank wine for five hours straight instead- a close second.

Even though we won, most people left disappointed. I sort of understand this sentiment, but then again, not really. The concept of fans getting upset over a win they had nothing to do with while sitting in a cool box sipping beer baffles me.

My grandfather and I went down the elevator. My ribs hurt from eating too much, but I was happy. I decided to walk home to burn some calories. He kissed me on the cheek and I turned toward downtown, beaming.

I can't decide if my blood runs orange or if it's something else. I can't imagine, though, living in this city and being nauseated by the color orange. It wouldn't be worth it to me. So I'll continue going to the games as a common folk, and as I eat my hot dog, I'll talk about how I wish more money would go to the arts program at UT. It doesn't make sense, I know, but neither does living here and hating UT.


Anonymous said...

Yeah maybe if the art program could convince 110,000 people (read: rednecks) to pay a lot of money to come look at art, then they could expand their facilities. Until that day, uh... yep.

benjamin said...

true, true, anonymous. that doesn't excuse them from kicking teachers and classes out of Neyland so that they can install luxury locker rooms. or whatever.

in the words of woody allen, "Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television."

ha, elevator man... awesome.

Mickey said...

I sat a row from the top last November for my first game. The experience was a bit different than yours but a good time nonetheless.

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