I'm not gonna lie, I slept like crap in the hotel in South Bend. Not sure if the room was too warm, or my gut wasn't 'just right', or what. The kids crept in from a bar at like 1:00 am and I didn't go back to sleep until around 5:00 am. My alarm was set for 6:15 am, which should've been plenty of sleep had I actually been able to sleep.
|Me sitting in my car. Waiting.|
GO TIME: Coach and I loaded the three cardboard boxes with the hot crockpots full of chili onto the luggage cart we'd kept in our room overnight. After we loaded the chili in the car, I drove off and Coach went back inside and worked out/ate breakfast, not wanting to disturb the sleeping 20-somethings.
|The chili was amazing and it stayed hot|
all day long. Granted I was a crockpot nazi
and made people line up and be ready to
be served at the same time vs leaving
the crockpot lid open for too long.
The lot wasn't going to open until 8 am, so I popped open my laptop. Occasionally I noticed people walking around carrying those chairs in a bag. Hmm.
A few minutes to 8:00 the attendant scanned tickets. It was time to find a good spot. I was like the 10th car in line, so I wasn't worried. I followed the car in front of me into the lot. He backed into a spot with a sidewalk and grass and I thought - great idea. I backed into a spot near him and got out of my car.
Me: Why am I so far away from the stadium? I should be closer.
You know how parking lots have cement dividers between sections? Well, I noticed that cars were pulling into a closer section. What now?
Blind leading the blind Me following a guy: The guy ahead of me must've preferred this section. I'd followed him thinking this was as close as we could get. I hesitated for a moment, afraid to give up my spot by sidewalk/grass.
Me: you didn't wait in line this early to not get a GREAT spot.
After checking to be sure there were still spots, I hopped in my car and drove around the cement divider to the other/closer section.
My adrenaline was pumping. I wanted to park in the same ideal 'back-in' place that butted up to a sidewalk and a strip of grass which gave the tailgate much more space than an average all-cement spot. There were about 5 spots left in the strip, but two ladies were sitting on folding chairs SAVING THE SPOTS.
|Gumby proudly overseeing|
our tailgate set up.
Three tables for food.
I positioned my car one spot over from a car that was parked, because I really didn't want to back into a spot while shaking with adrenaline directly next to another car.
I was in the minivan (let's all stop and imagine the Great White in this scenario, who would dare to mess with GW?). I have a back up camera in the minivan, so I could see Fool #1 in her chair as I backed up TOWARDS HER.
She hopped up and waved her hands at me. Her partner in crime, Fool #2 a few spots over sitting on her folding chair began to wave and shout at me.
HEY, WE'RE SAVING THESE SPOTS.
I felt like the Little Red Hen. Were you in line in your vehicle at 6:43 am? No, I think not. Then you will not
eat my bread keep these spots.
I rolled my window down a little: SORRY, BUT SAVING SPOTS ISN'T ALLOWED. YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO MOVE.
They gasped and hollered back at me: WE'RE NOT MOVING FROM THESE SPOTS.
*In case you aren't grasping the situation - they probably had friends in cars at the back of the line. They walked up with their folding chairs in order to grab these awesome spots. Is this fair? Nope. Is this how it works? Nope, certainly not.
Fool #1 behind me started to move her chair as I proceeded to back up. Fool #2 hollered at her: NO! DON'T MOVE FROM THAT SPOT! SHE CAN'T DO THAT!
I saw a couple of people in neon vests and gathered that they were security. I waved to them and called out THEY'RE BREAKING THE RULES, but I think they were students and they didn't want to get involved. I continued to back up. Fool #1's knees were in full view on my back up camera.Finally, I decided to take the spot directly next to the car that was already there. This was a spot that the Fools were saving, but clearly they cared more that I not take a spot in the middle of their 5 spots because then they couldn't have all their besties in one row. Giving up a spot on the perimeter was less of a blow. Imagine the nerve of people to attempt to save 5 spots. F.I.V.E. Come on now?
I pulled forward and backed up directly next to the other car and was therefore on the outskirts of the Fools'. I sat in the car for a few minutes after I'd parked and gathered myself.
HEY NIEGHBOR: These people were going to be our tailgating neighbors for the entire day. Soon enough Gumby himself would be propped up onto the top of my car. These people would be able to identify me.
Did that deter me? No. Not in the least.
I heard someone ask the people how their son liked the school, so I'm guessing they have a freshman too. I was hoping they had a senior and this was their swan song.
While they'll know me by my Gumby, I couldn't pick them up out of a lineup. Now, if I'd maimed one of them while backing up - then I'd know them by their limping.
I'M KIDDING. OF COURSE.
I did note their NEW YORK plates.
|WE ARE HERE.|
I got out of the car and took photos of my whereabouts. I texted all of the people who planned to join us, so that they could find us later before cell service with attached photos got dicey.
My sister, Marie, had texted me mid week and asked if she and her family could come to our tailgate. Is this the same sister who failed to say a peep about tailgating invites at the start of the season? She was taking a break from hosting a tailgate. In the words of Jimmy Stewart in 'It's A Wonderful Life': this is a very interesting situation.
|We won't talk about how the game|
ended. Fortunately, I care
little about the actual football game.
I get that these people were trying to get away with something, but once you've been called out - don't you apologize and back down? (before you get backed over) Seriously.
Anyone tried to break the rules on your watch? All in favor of me fitting Gumby with a prosthetic hand so that he can give bad behaving neighbors the bird in the future, say HEY.