It’s no secret that I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. So any opportunity to see them play live, I’m going to jump on.
When the 2011-2012 schedule was released, and I saw the Steelers were playing the Chiefs in Kansas City, I made up my mind to get down there to the game. KC is only 3 shorts hours away from Omaha. How could I not go?
The first mission was to convince CJ. That wasn’t hard. He heard the words “football” and “game” in the same sentence and was sold.
Next up – find another couple to go with us. This wasn’t a requirement as we certainly could have gone alone, but it’s way more fun with friends! Turns out I know someone who might love the Steelers just a bit more than me, if that’s possible, and that’s Courtney from Team Trader. She said “yes” without hesitation and we were off to the races!
Now for finding CHEAP tickets. Yes I love the Steelers. No I’m not willing to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets . I was able to find some for $40 each. I knew they would be in the nosebleed section but that was ok. The important thing was to be there, not to be close enough to get flicked with sweat flying off Troy’s hair.
Or was it?
Anyway, Courtney was responsible for getting us hotel rooms. We wanted a hotel close to the stadium but they got booked up fast. She asked me if we wanted something in the $40, $80 or $180 a night range. We both agreed on $80. Well turns out we weren’t able to get those so we ended up in the $180 a night rooms, at the Holiday Inn.
Now I had the go ahead from my hubbie, a couple to go with, tickets and hotel rooms. We were all set!
Let the games begin!
The game was Sunday night at 7:20 (i.e. the NBC Sunday Night Football game of the week). The plan was to leave town around noon and therefore get to KC about 3pm. We’d check in at the hotel, unload our gear and then head over for some tailgating before the game itself.
But first we had to drop Isabella and Samson off at my parent’s house.
Don’t we all look cute in our Steeler gear? Too bad Samson doesn’t have a Steeler collar or something…we’ll have to work on that!
We got to Chris and Courtney’s around 12:30 and hit the road. It was a smooth drive and we got in right at 3:30. Turns out our hotel was literally across the street from the stadium! This was the view from our room on the 14th floor.
That’s Arrowhead football stadium on the left and the KC Royals baseball stadium on the right. All that separated us was the highway!
Here’s a close up of Arrowhead.
Because our hotel was so close, it was packed with other Steeler fans (and a few Chiefs fans too, though most of them already live in town). They were having a tailgating party, face painting and even a shuttle ride over to the game. All cool but we were on a mission to get there fast.
First we had to unload in the rooms.
We had adjoining rooms. That’s my reflection in Chris and Courtney’s mirror, through the connecting door between our rooms. Dork with a capital D.
One thing to note is that it was very cold that day. Like in the 30’s during the day and dropping in to the night. I thought I was prepared for that.
I so was not.
See, I’m not an outdoorsy type of person. I hate camping. I can’t stand bugs. I don’t like any type of outdoor winter activity. Therefore I don’t have any of the gear one might have for those situations. I don’t own snow boots or snow pants. I don’t have a face mask. My hats/scarves are more for fashion than warmth. And I don’t own any long underwear.
I was screwed.
Here’s what I did wear: jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt, short sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, hat, gloves, socks and regular boots (and of course my Terrible Towel which actually became a good blanket later on).
CJ had about the same plus long underwear.
Chris and Courtney added to that snow pants and overalls.
We walked over to the stadium because we didn’t want to wait for the shuttle.
The plan was to meet up with Chris’ cousins who were tailgating. They told us they were in section A3. We walked and walked around A3 and couldn’t find them anywhere. We did see a lot of Troy look alikes (aka dudes in wigs) and one guy who actually did look like Hines Ward.
And oh the smells. In one step you’d catch a whiff of burgers on the grill and in the next it’d be hot dogs. Further down was the aroma of steak or grilled veggies. There were bonfires, games being played, music blasting and plenty of tents and heaters. Very cool atmosphere.
Yet we couldn’t find OUR tailgate! They finally found us after about 30 min. and we claimed our spot at their truck.
It was about 4:30 by now and we had close to 3 hours to kill before the game. Most of that time was spent drinking and shooting the breeze. Then more drinking and storytelling. Followed by still more drinking and even more crass story telling. For most I think the alcohol kept them warm. I only had 2 beers so it didn’t give me extra heat. At one point I had to go sit in the cab of the truck with the heater on to thaw out.
Because Chris had so many layers on, and is more warm-blooded than me, he actually took off his outer coat and gave it to me! I was very grateful. My middle (shoulders down to butt) was warm but my face/nose and legs/feet were FREEZING! Mostly my feet. At one point I seriously thought that my toes would literally freeze right off!
On a side note – it is quite a challenge to pee in a port-a-potty when you have umpteen layers on AND it’s night so you can’t see what the hell you’re doing.
Finally it was time to head in to the stadium! We climbed up and up and up to our seats that were almost to the very top.
But we could see the whole field and everything going on so I was good.
Funny story: our tickets were for section 305, row 36, seats 7-10. After having been seated for 10 minutes or so in what we thought were those seats, 3 guys came up and said we were in their seats. We checked and sure enough, we had sat in row 35 instead of 36. So we moved up one and all was well. Until 30 minutes later when CJ and Chris went down for more beverages and got lost. When they made it back we found out that we were actually sitting in the wrong section too! We were in 306 – one over from where we were supposed to be! And those 3 guys in front of us? They were also in the wrong section! They were supposed to be in 305 as well. AND they are season ticket holders! We all laughed about it and decided to just stay where we were since no one else was claiming those seats.
Soon the action started. The teams came out on to the field.
Martina McBride sang the National Anthem.
And some Air Force jets did a fly over.
(Bad picture, I know, but I wasn’t prepared for that and had a cheap camera with me)
Then they did the coin toss.
The dude in the #7 jersey is Big Ben and #99 is Brett Keisel (The Beard).
The game itself was stressful because Pitt didn’t play as well as they should have. Let’s face it – everyone was expecting them to roll over the Chiefs. Even the 3 dudes in front of us, who are Chiefs fans, were like, “Wow, you guys must be upset that you’re not winning by more.” Um, yeah we were. I don’t know what it is about KC but whenever the Steelers come there, they choke. When CJ and I saw them there 2 years ago, same thing happened only they actually lost that game.
The Steelers win games and championships but they don’t make it look pretty.
As the night went on it really got cold. The guys even broke out their face masks.
Serial killer #1.
And his friend Hannibal Lector.
Us girls didn’t need no stinkin’ face masks. We were basking in the glow of Steeler Nation!
By the time all was said and done, it was 11:30 when we got back to the hotel. I jumped into a hot shower and just stood under the steaming water for a good 5 minutes before I started to feel warm again. Stayed in for 15 more minutes to let the heat soak in to my bones. That’s not typical of me. I’m usually and in and out kind of gal when it comes to showering. But not that night. I needed the heat baby!
I got dressed again and we went downstairs for a cocktail celebration. We were dragging though. We took one look at the crowded bar and went back up to our room and crashed in bed. Slept in on Monday until 8:15 which is a BIG luxury for me (especially when I’m used to getting up at 4:30 am for Kosama).
Then it was back home.
The trip was a blast and Chris and Courtney are super fun. Couldn’t have gone with a better couple. Next time, I’ll go more prepared for the cold.
Here we go Steelers, here we go!
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