Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Penn State at FedEx Field

I was - well, not dragged, exactly, but persuaded to see Penn State play Indiana at FedEx Field (the Washington Redskins' home stadium) on the 20th. It was technically a home game for, er, Indiana; the Redskins, wanting to increase the number of college football games played at FedEx Field, paid Indiana $3 million to move the game. Despite no doubt annoying thousands of students, who were deprived of one of six games this season, the school took the money. Needless to say, the Penn State fans in the stadium crowd outnumbered the Indiana fans about 10 to 1.

I don't go to these things often. It's not that I don't like [American] football, or enjoying the great outdoors for a few hours. The problem is that it's a long slog to get to a stadium - roads are not built to accommodate an additional 80 or 90 thousand fans trying to get in and out - and, once there, one has to endure loud music over the PA system, obnoxious and often drunk fans who feel they've paid for a license to behave badly, and, often, given the season in which football is played, cold and/or wet weather.

Somewhat miraculously, none of the above occurred. The drive to the stadium was slowed by a number of accidents, but the delays were minor. The weather was lovely - sunny and quite warm. And the fans, for the most part, seemed to behave themselves.

We had decent seats, in what is called the "club level." (This is distinct from the suites, in which the seats are sheltered from the weather, with windows that can be opened or closed - don't want the high-rollers having to watch a game in the cold and/or rain - and which have waiter service for food and drink.) We had a higher ratio of bathrooms to ticket holders, access to a wider variety of food - though, at $8 for a hot dog, who could afford it? - and better booze. It's outrageous to charge $8 for a Bud Light, though, not being a beer drinker, this wasn't affecting my life any, but one could have a Guinness draft for only a dollar more, which seems like a no-brainer to me. Naturally, most everyone was drinking the horrid stuff. There was also a full bar, though I didn't want to ask the prices.

There were also nice seats and couches in the concourse. What really floored me was that several young people seemed to be sleeping their way through the game. I assume they had a little too much good cheer in the parking lot beforehand and were now sleeping it off, but at the prices charged they could have gotten rip-roaring drunk for a lot less. I don't understand people sometimes.

Despite a game that was tied at 24 midway through the third quarter, the good guys (well, from the crowd's perspective) won the game, blocking a punt for a touchdown and scoring again - see the extra point try below.

The biggest annoyance was that we had a constant reminder that this was, in fact, an Indiana home game: an announcer whose favorite phrase was a bellowed "First down, HOOOOOOSIERS!" Ah well.

And, still coaching, the one, the only, the legendary, the man of 400 wins, Joe Paterno:

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