This year marks the tenth year I have attended a Arizona Cardinals football game. I have seen some fantastic contests, some really bad ones, fantastic finishes including an overtime game, a Monday Night football and Sunday night game. I have seen a completed Hail Mary, an interception for touchdown, a 60 yard completion and run down the sideline, culminating with a five player and one official pile up, all directly in front of my section.
What started out as a fun thing to do in the winter with family and friends, has become so much more. The football has often become secondary to the hilarious and strange experiences we have shared. Some are only ever going to be funny to those who were there, but each excursion south has resulted in fantastic memories and for that I am grateful.
The past few years have cemented in my mind that this trip, at least in its current incarnation, has run its course. I still love going to the desert for the weekend, and this years game and events were no less memorable, but with the upcoming marriage of my brother, growing families and more difficulty finding a game we can all attend, things need to be altered, need to evolve to fit our new situations.
For my part, I am certainly less willing to drive the 10 hours there and back in what has become increasingly unstable weather. This year, we experienced sub zero temperatures and ice sheets for roads in some places. Maybe its true, and I am just an old man, but driving in the winter has become far too taxing.
Earlier trips also included a wild and outrageous Saturday night out among the young inhabitants of Tempe and Scottsdale. Again, I’m too old for such shenanigans and found myself only wanting to stay in the hotel and sleep.
I felt this was the final trip and tried to use that feeling to enjoy every moment I was away. We had the BEST tailgate of the decade, laughed the most, enjoyed the game more, did things we usually did not do. Sheryl also joined us for the first time since 2004. It was wonderful to bookend the ten years with my wife. I’m excited to see how things change.
Next year, we will stay home. We have a plan to attend a game in NYC in 2015. From there, who knows. It will be fun to find out.
Here are some fine images from this years trip, including a photo of the most expensive steak I have ever eaten, some antique bottles from an antique mall, a few shots from the tailgate and the Cardinals victory against the Rams.