Monday Smiles – 8/3/2012

I have always been a watch-at-home sports fan.  Based on our few excursions to large outdoor sports venues, I prefer my recliner and TV to the prospect of enduring endless traffic and distant over-priced parking to watch a game from uncomfortable seats surrounded by thousands of beer-guzzling fans … only to have a much poorer view of the field.  But I have also been a huge fan of University of Southern California football since I started attending the USC Graduate school in the 1980s.  When tickets to last Saturday’s opening game against Hawaii showed up on Goldstar, the half-price ticket website, Muri and I decided to go.

As the weekend approached, we began planning our outing.  At 68, I am no longer a jump-in-the-car-and-wing-it kinda guy.  For one, USC plays in the LA Coliseum, which holds over 100,000 fans.   The Coliseum itself has very limited parking and most of that is reserved for USC athletic support organizations, like Cardinal and Gold, which requires a donation of $3000 a year. Beyond that parking is available on the USC campus and at numerous private lots.  Many of the numerous private lots are those of small businesses or the front lawns of residents near the Coliseum in neighborhoods that are not the best.  I downloaded The USC Spirit Guide and The Coliseum Guide … both recommended arriving early in order to park on campus.  The weather forecast called for temperatures in the nineties and high humidity, at least by California standards.  How early to arrive became a trade-off between time spent in the heat and the possibility of finding parking on campus.  Old bodies can’t take the heat like young bodies and Older Eyes are uninclined to park in scary places.

We decided we would eat lunch at home then leave at 12:30 for a 4:30 game.  My Tom-Tom showed us the best route to the Coliseum and The Coliseum Guide told us what exits to take to avoid the traffic.  Both were really helpful and we arrived at the gate #6 to the campus at 1:30.  A large sign reading FULL blocked the driveway.  We continued to gate #5.  FULL.  Gate #4, farthest from the Coliseum was admitting cars … for $25.  We followed a long line past numerous FULL lots to a parking structure, winding through six floors with no spaces.  On the top, we found a space, one of perhaps a dozen left.  Whew.  We walked down seven flights of stairs because the elevator wasn’t working, then walked a mile to the Coliseum, only to find that we were at the opposite end from the Will Call booth.  It was 3:00 by the time we got our tickets and made our way to our seats in the nose-bleed section, taking the stairs because an usher didn’t bother to tell us there was an escalator nearby.   Our cheap seats turned out to be benches, but at least they had backs.

So, where are the Smiles, you ask?  Well, walking through the campus on game day was a kick.  Every square inch of space was occupied by USC canopies with barbeques and coolers … and students dressed in Cardinal and Gold.  Very festive.  But, Jeez, when did college students get so young?  And even though they were benches, our seats were very good, providing an excellent view of the game.  The crowd was well-behaved, perhaps in part because the Coliseum does not sell beer, reducing the number of people going back and forth to the refreshment stands … and the potential for belligerent drunks.  We had a woman behind us who been one of Matt Barkley’s (the USC quarterback) teachers in high school and talked about him incessantly for the entire game (cue The Police hit, Don’t Stand So Close to Me) but she was amusing in an annoying way.   USC appears to be as good as advertised … they scored on the first play of the game … and the crowd spirit was electric.  Eventually, though, all the walking, the heat and the bench seats wore us down … when the score reached 35-0, we left, stopping at a Black Angus for dinner on the way home.

Oh, yes.  Final score … 49-10.  It’s Monday.  I’m tired but smiling.

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5 Comments on “Monday Smiles – 8/3/2012”

  1. The good thing about the cheap seats is that you can see the whole field, and with the JumboTrons, you’re all set! I’ve learned and re-learned that at almost every NFL game I’ve been to (I think I’ve been to four). But the climbing is no fun. Glad you and Muri were up for the walking. Too bad the game was so dull. 🙂

  2. territerri Says:

    It took a LOT of effort, but was clearly worthwhile in the end. I might have been just a bit cranky after all the effort it took just to arrive at your seats. I’m glad it was worth it!

  3. Well, Bud -about all I can say here today is that at least one of us had a victory for our Alma Mater to take away from the day. Sad to say, my Nittany Lions didn’t fare very well with their opening game. But since I support them, win, lose or draw -no fair weather stuff here -I’m thinking positively about the score and telling myself this next game will be different, it will be better and we’ll get the win! And if we don’t -well heck, I still love ’em anyway!(Oh and btw, I am definitely a stay-at-home and view person when it comes to things like this although, I have been known to enjoy a bit of a tailgating at Beaver Stadium in years long since gone by.)

    • oldereyes Says:

      I was pulling for them, Jeni. I feel bad for the players who got caught in the backwash of the whole Sandusky thing. The NCAA needs to come up with a way to discipline the universities without punishing the kids, who had nothing to do with the infractions. I’m also inclined to think we’d have been better off if the NCAA had left this as a legal matter. As you might guess, I really dislike tyrannical organizations like the NCAA that operate beyond due process … and it’s not just because they stuck it to USC a few years back.

  4. I am happy you still enjpoyed yourselves despite the heat/humidity and the fact that you ” walked down seven flights of stairs because the elevator wasn’t working, then walked a mile to the Coliseum, only to find that we were at the opposite end from the Will Call booth. “

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