Friday, January 20, 2006

Remembering A Great Day

My ten year old son Matthew and I were pumped up at the thought of attending our first Bengals opening day game. We've always wanted to do it, but this season we finally broke down and bought season tickets to follow our beloved Bengals. This was the first time we were going to see them in person for a real game (we had seen them many times at their training facility in Georgetown, KY and in exhibition games, but never in a game that counted).

It was the perfect day. We arrived early, parked in Kentucky alongside the Ohio River, set up our trusty camping grill, and grilled up some ribs and brats while we passed football in the sunny 70 degree weather. Located directly across the river from us, Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark were beautiful sites to behold. Matthew wore his autographed Carson Palmer jersey and I sported my autographed Rudi Johnson jersey. We had met our heroes after a team practice and had them sign our jerseys, hats, yearbooks, etc. Many players let me take photographs of them standing beside Matt. We consumed mass quantities of the best beverage on the planet (Mountain Dew) and prepared for the big game.

Matt and I walked across the Ohio River bridge and ventured up a block or two into the city to experience some of the Octoberfest festivities. We enjoyed watching the polka participants and the entire celebration. It was now time to head out for the main event...Bengals vs. Vikings, Paul Brown Stadium, opening day 2005.

After hearing a powerful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, the excitement of the four fighter jets flying over the stadium was awesome. On the Bengals first play, Carson Palmer completed a long bomb touchdown pass to Chad Johnson. Fantastic! Chad did his celebration dance. Yes! The Bengals went on to blow out the Vikings and completely dominated all phases of the game.

On our walk back over the bridge to our Bengalmobile, Matthew voiced his concern of the prospect of not seeing Brett Favre on TV for the 4:15 game. I told him not to worry, that we were not going to miss anything. We got in our van, drove three blocks to Willie's Sports Cafe, and watched Brett Favre on the widescreen while eating some spicy chicken wings.

After all that excitement it was finally time to head home. As I was driving down I-75, Matt turned down the volume on the swinging Dexter Gordon cd and told me, "Dad, this is the greatest day of my life". When I heard him say that, it was about the best day of my life too. I looked up and saw the Dairy Queen sign at the next exit, and told him that our day wasn't yet over...we were stopping for ice cream!

Matt at the 2005 home opener


At January 20, 2006 5:36 PM, Anonymous Melody :-) said...

Well gee golly Dad, you are up on the times, you know that? I'd like you to know that just because you have a "blog" and I do not does not under any circumstances mean that you are any cooler than I am, so don't let it get to your head.


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