Paco is a big soccer fan so when I heard that the US was playing Brazil in an international friendly at FedEx field on May 30th, it was a no-brainer.
I bought some tickets on StubHub and, well, that was the high point of the event experience for us.
Now, I’m sure there are others who go to FedEX Field on a regular basis, but I’m not one of them.
Which meant there were a few things I didn’t know…maybe I should have done the research beforehand, but I didn’t….and my son and I didn’t have the experience we envisioned.
First, I didn’t know where to park so I ended up in the lane that required $40 for parking, which I didn’t have because I don’t carry that much cash.
We ended up parking about 1 mile away and walking to the stadium. By this time, the game had already started and our excitement was palpable as we approached the gate. Finally, we were going to get in…
Or so we thought.
When we showed our tickets, the usher blocked our way.
“No backpacks allowed inside.” He pointed to the sign.
Sure enough, a very long list of prohibited items and backpack was on them.
I had brought some food and water for the boy, but also binoculars so he could watch the game, some sweatshirts, etc.
I pleaded. He wouldn’t budge and he wasn’t so nice about it.
Paco started to cry. “It’s my first game!”
I got choked up. I felt like I had let him down.
The usher instructed me to move away from the gate.
We stepped away and tried to figure out what to do. We couldn’t walk a mile back to our car and while the thought of abandoning my bag, water bottles, etc. crossed my mind, I wasn’t sure that was the way to go.
We tried another gate. Same result.
Poor Paco was really upset and, you know what? So was I.
We had been to Verizon Center where a backpack had not been a problem, but not this time on this night.
Instead, my 6 year old son and I stood outside the stadium in tears, unable to have the desired father-son bonding experience.
It was not where I wanted to be….not at all.
Fortunately, we were able to make lemonade out of lemons and sell our tickets (whereupon Paco said, “well, at least those guys will have a good time at the game.”)
We walked back to the car, hand in hand, enjoying each other’s company and creating an unexpected memory based on common rejection.
I was so impressed with is maturity as he quickly regained his composure with a good sense of humor.
Father and son bonded after all.