DB and I are sports fans. We like watching sports. A lot of different kinds of sports. I’ve been watching American football all my life. It was the one thing my dad and I could to together and not argue. When DB and I were planning our trip to California in October I wondered if there was any sports event we could go to. Yes! San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons football game.
I’d never been to a pro football game. The college I went to didn’t even have a football team. I have always wanted to go to a game but always heard that tickets were really hard to get. I guess that depends on how well the team is doing because it wasn’t hard to get these tickets at all.
The game was at Candlestick Park, which is a short train ride from San Francisco center. Of course a lot of people drive there, because half the fun of a football game is the tailgate party beforehand. We arrived on foot to the parking area and wandered around for a while, just looking at all the BBQs and fans hanging out having a good time.
Some people keep it simple, with ice chests of beer and soda and small portable BBQs….
But some people go all out….
The parking lot was FULL of this kind of thing going on, and this was just ONE of the parking lots…
We finally decided to find our seats in the stadium. I was happy to find out that we could actually see pretty well from our seats. Candlestick is an old-ish stadium and isn’t that big really, compared to the new modern mega-stadiums they build these days (like Paris’ Stade de France).
What happens before a football game starts is something you never see on tv. All you see on tv are the talking heads. Let me show you what you don’t normally see.
First, the warming up..
Then the cheerleaders come out and “entertain” us…
Then everyone goes off the field and they pump up a giant football helmet and line up for the grand entrance of the players…
Of course someone has to sing the Star Spangled Banner. I don’t know who this was. They said her name, but I didn’t understand it with all the echo and noise in the stadium. We all stood up. Some people put their hands over their hearts. It was every cliche you hear about, but also felt to me like going back to childhood when we had to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school.
FINALLY we got to see some football.
It started out so promising, but then the 49ers seemed to fall apart and they lost the game. Fans started to leave before the final whistle blew. It was sad for the diehard fans. I hear they are really doing badly this season. Ah well. That’s sports.
What I found so wonderful about sitting in the stadium was that there’s a friendly rivalry between fans that never gets out of hand. In the very first photo above, that’s a S.F. fan on the left, and 2 Falcons fans on the right. We were sitting right behind them. There is no segregation of fans at American sports events. Not in any sport. And it’s OK. There’s trash talk going on and fans dissing each other and their teams, but then they turn around and wink at each other and shake hands. It’s wonderful. Europe should get a clue from this. The way soccer fans in Europe behave is really beyond my understanding.
After the game we took the train back into the city and got off at AT&T Park, which is the stadium where they play major league baseball. We walked a couple of blocks from there to a very nice beer pub / restaurant. It’s called 21st Amendment. I highly recommend it. The food was fresh and light and the beer very tasty.
Next year we’ll have to go to a Major League Baseball game!