Monday, October 17, 2011

Wide right, or spending the day teasing your child unmercifully is priceless

Wide right.  Two words that either delight New York Giants fans or greatly upset, to the point of apoplexy, Buffalo Bills fans. On January 27, 1991, with eight seconds left in Super bowl XXV, Scott Norwood, kicker for the Bills, lined up to kick a forty-seven yard field goal to win the game.  The kick had the distance, but sailed wide right, thus ensuring the Giants an upset victory over the Bills.  And bragging rights forever. 

I come from a long line of New York Giants fans and my older son, Todd, follows with this tradition.  Aaron, my younger son, broke rank, and for some inexplicable reason, became a fan of the Buffalo Bills.  I know what you are thinking.  The shame and humiliation must be unbearable for me.  You are right.  Groundings, banishment, and years of therapy neither dissuaded him, nor allowed him to see the error of his ways.  He remains a fan of a team that has an unprecedented record of going to the Super Bowl four years in a row and losing each and every one them.  A fact that is always brought up whenever we talk about whose team is better. 

Aaron had never been to a professional football game, so my son Todd and his friend Mike thought it would be a cool idea to take him to the new Giants Stadium.  The line-up?  Bills at Giants. It was a gorgeous, sunny, fall day and we made good time getting to the stadium.  We parked, and set up the grill.  But not before cracking open a few cool ones. At nine-thirty in the morning.  All around us, people were throwing the ball around, playing bag toss games and having a great time.  We were all trash talking, boasting who will win, what team rules, what team sucks and teasing each other unmercifully.  We had a lot of food and gallons of beer so we were getting quite rowdy.  After demolishing a couple of sandwiches, a sausage ring, a few handfuls of pretzels and mass quantities of beer, it was showtime. 

We walk into the new, gorgeous, Giants stadium, now named MetLife Stadium and find our seats. We were in the second row, field level.  I’ve never been that close to the players.  It was as if the game was being played in my backyard.  You could hear all of the hits, grunts, taunts and calls.  It was amazing.  The crowd was noisy and excited.  After all, these are the Giants, our heroes.  The team we live vicariously through, endlessly argue about, simultaneously love and hate.   We revel in the glory when they win and feel the sting of defeat when they lose. 

We are pretty lit up by the time we find our seats.  First order of business is to get some more beer.  I’m buying the beer, four cups, forty dollars.  I brought three hundred bucks to cover the day, but I’m already thinking about an emergency second mortgage on my house to cover the rest of the refreshments.  Oi vai!  

The Giants strike first with a touchdown and the crowd is roaring.  My normally run-at-the mouth son Aaron is strangely quiet.  We are giving him a non-stop barrage of trash talk.  Four more beers and the Bills get a break in the form of an amazing 80 yard scamper to tie the score.  Aaron comes alive and now we are strangely quiet.  And that is how it went all day. It was a close game with the Bills taking the lead at one point.  The Giants had a touchdown taken away after review, and had a field goal attempt blocked.   The Giants had a three point lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.  The Bills have possession, but are finally stopped when they go for it on fourth down and the pass is batted away, thus sealing victory for our beloved warriors.  The crowd is going insane and we are mocking Aaron and his defeated Bills.

Todd and I follow Aaron into the men's rooms and Todd yells out, “Hey Kelly! (Aaron is wearing a Jim Kelly jersey) Wide right!”  The entire men's room erupts with laughter, and those waiting in line or holding their junk peeing, begin to chant, “wide right, wide right, wide right!”  Aaron goes to the urinal and no one goes to the urinal on his right in case he goes wide right too!  It was a thing of beauty. 

The ride home was long and we re-lived every, play, run, catch, and of course, tease Aaron unmercifully.  Despite his team losing, he had a fantastic time.  I had the time of my life spending a wonderful afternoon with my two guys.  Another priceless event in the Scott family lore. 

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