Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hello, yeah, it's been a while . . .

It isn't as if nothing has happened around here for the past half a year, but you know how it is--once one gets a certain way behind on updating one's blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to just pick up and get going again.

I am a halfhearted blogger, I admit it.  But if that's OK with you, thanks for reading, and I'll make an effort here to get things caught up.

Let's do a very quick timeline since . . . what, was it last spring when Keebler got hurt again? Oh, wait . . . I didn't tell you that?  Oy vey.  SERIOUS catching up needs doing here.

All right, timeline: Keebler hurt again.  More stall rest and rehab.  I decided to buy a new horse.  I *did* buy a new horse.  Pony was pregnant but then she wasn't.  New horse and I got off to a really bad start, but got things sorted out and ended the season on a high note.  New horse is in Florida with my trainer. Big family Christmas.  Various life events.  And the Super Bowl.  Which the Giants won in fine style.  Did I mention we were there?

Ah, the Super Bowl.  Let me start there and maybe I'll work backwards through the horse stuff.

This is how it is: I'm a Giants and Jets fan from forever, and I like to joke that Evan comes by his Giants-fandom naturally.  I went into labor, after all, during the NFC Championship game in 2001 (Giants 41-Vikings 0) and he was born on that auspicious day.  Of course that is the one Super Bowl the Giants LOST, but I haven't yet sorted out the karmic significance of that.  Evan has been fascinated by football since he was an itty bitty baby, and during the Giants' playoff run in 2007-08 he was just kind of figuring out what was what.  Naturally that year was a great one in our house, and he was hooked forever during that playoff season.  He sends birthday cards to Eli Manning.  He sends plays to Tom Coughlin.  He can quote you every statistic you could ever want to know about the Giants.  Basic "lives and breathes" stuff.  That's my boy!  We always talked about going to a Super Bowl "one day", assuming the Giants ever made it back. 

We have an ongoing game we play in restaurants.  Evan blows the paper off his straw and I set up a goal with my hands that he has to aim it through.  I make a large goal, he makes the shot, he gets a quarter or something.  Tiny goal?  Big prize.  His aim is generally poor, and the aerodynamics of straw wrappers are dicey at best.  Last year on his birthday the goal was silver-dollar sized, and he was a good five feet away across a large table.  "What are we shooting for?" he asked, as usual.  "Super Bowl Tickets," I smugly answered.  His eyes got big.  "REALLY?"  "Well, only if the Giants are in it," I countered.  We both laughed.

He made the shot and the rest, as they say, is history.

Almost exactly a year later, we were gasping and palpitating our way through the Giants' crazy season and improbable playoff run, culminating in a jet-lagged and giddy celebration of their NFC Championship--eleven years after the labor-inducing one--and a promise is a promise.  Off I went to StubHub to cough up gigantic sums of money for a trip to the big game that was, thankfully, within driving distance.

StubHub even did a story on my ticket purchase, although the reporter didn't have time to get into the details of the Super Bowl promise or the bet.

So on February 5th, off we went in the early morning towards Indianapolis.  An easy drive, and we were able to find a place to stay, Joseph-and-Mary-like, at the stable of a friend and fellow eventer since there were no rooms at the inn . . . unless you booked four nights at $450 a night!  No thanks, this was a quick trip in and out.  No parties, no steak dinners, no people watching, this was Serious Football Business!

What an experience!  We were able to cruise around Super Bowl Village and do the requisite souvenir shopping and football tossing games, but the stadium soon sucked us in and we found our seats, which were surprisingly good for being way, way up high in the corner of the end zone.  I don't think there are really any bad seats in modern stadiums.  A very partisan crowd with few neutral fans surrounded us, probably half for the Giants and half for the Pats.  Not your typical drunken, obnoxious football fans, though--with tickets at four figures, people were pretty much on their best behavior.

Watching a game live from the upper bowl is a challenge when one's typical habit when things are going badly is to get up and pace back and forth.  This is difficult on a number of levels, so other than the last minute of the fourth quarter, I was stuck in my seat and had no choice but to watch two incredible Tom Brady drives down the field and our nine point lead turn into an eight point deficit.  Evan was on his best behavior but had to fight back a few tears and for a while there I was wondering what I had done . . . a loss in this game, with this much emotional buildup, after all of this planning . . !

"Never give up on these Giants," I reminded my very quiet child as the fourth quarter got underway.  And these Giants didn't let him down.  What a finish!   Evan regained control of his vocal cords and was hollering loudly enough to be heard on TV as the Giants scored their final touchdown.  I did manage to find a way to pace up and down a few of the steps as the clock wound down and the Pats began slinging the ball downfield in desperation.   I get the exact same feeling in moments like this that I get in XC warmup at a show where maybe I'm feeling a little less prepared than I should be: "Why do I do this?  I don't even like football/eventing!"  Nerves do funny things to our inner dialogue.

With a thrilling win and a happy but emotionally and physically exhausted kid in tow, we dragged our way through traffic to the peace and quiet of our beds for the night up in the quiet farm country north of town.  I think I slept maybe an hour, but Evan was unconscious before we left the parking garage and only woke up briefly when I scrubbed the paint and glitter off his face.

It was surreal and fantastic and although I hope the Giants make many more trips back (wouldn't mind the Jets getting their share, too) I think every year wouldn't be enough time for my nerves to recover!  Nevertheless, go Giants . . . but everyone knows that teams never repeat, right?

I took pictures.

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