October 19, 2003
"Massacre in Miami"
On the eve of our departure to Miami I experienced one of the biggest emotional letdowns that I can recall in recent history. Initially planning on staying home, the lure of South Street to watch the Red Sox/Yankees Game 7 Showdown was just too great so we packed in a hurry and headed out...We all know what happened so details will be spared here but I must admit I literally bawled all the way home. (Nice of my Yankee fan husband to try to console me... but how can HE possibly understand my pain?!) It was the last thing on my mind when I went to sleep and the first thing when I awoke at 4:00 AM to set out for our trek. I declared right then and there... "The only thing I need to cure this Red Sox hangover is Patriots Win!" Thankfully, I can cancel my reservations for Butler Hospital as My Boys saved me from insanity!
After a comfortable flight (and blaring tunes to help me forget...) we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and hooked up with fellow trekster, Bama, who was accompanied by his lovely wife, Judy. The weather was beautiful, we took a tour of the area (thanks Bama...hehe!), finally asked directions, then settled in to our hotel. We hit Champs for lunch, marveling at the New England connections and coincidences that we encountered. On Friday night, Al and I visited with family and laughed so hard we all had tears streaming down our faces!! (Ok.... enough of the Johhhhhhnnnnnnn stories, already! ) Later that night, Linda, Melissa, Al, and I walked the strip, ate a delicious meal at Mangos and laughed some more!
Saturday brought an early morning run and a meeting to pick up our tickets from the Dolphins employee who hooked us up. Bama took the car to drop off Judy so Al and I hit the pool for a bit. I wish I had a picture of Bama's expression and the little "Skip to My Lou" step he did when entered the pool area and spotted Mrs. B. in such attire!! Al was roaring! We later embarked on a 12 hour cigar shopping trip.... (ok... I'm being facetious here but since we traveled so far to get the items in question, I just HAD to take advantage of the shoe sale at the mall while we were there didn't I?! Yippee!!.... Shoe Sale!!)
We lunched right on the beach at Aruba and true to form, the trade winds were blowing that day. We scored a prime seats at the window and spent the afternoon people watching and breathing the collective sigh of .... "Ahhhhh,,, vacation!" Al and Bama had their eyes on a blond honey in a thong right in front of us, I saw too many boner shorts (aka Speedos) and beer bellies for my liking, marveled at the "Hair Club for Men Dude", who's helmet didn't sway in the least despite a steady breeze, and watched the 20-Somethings in action trying to work their game on the beach. (Master-of-the-Game, Bama, was analyzing their strategies and gave us play by play... watch out Gino and Gil!)
After lunch we headed back to the hotel where Steve joined us by the pool. I took a power nap in the sun and almost missed the arrival of the team buses. They entered by the pool entrance so we didn't have far to walk to catch the boys coming off the bus. Still sleepy, I threw on my jacket and hung back to watch. We were the only ones there besides some other guests who just happened to get stuck outside and had no clue who the men in suits were. Bama urged me to move to the front, but for some reason I decided to stay behind... I think it's because we're so used to being in the VIP sections with the guys and families in various establishments now that we've "moved on" and I feel funny gawking... Al didn't even take a single picture! Tedy was wearing his usual game face but said hello and gave us a wave, Lonie came over to shake Al's hand, and Bobby Hamilton and Jarvis Green stopped to say a few words.
The lobby situation was nice because they set up a roped off area outside the hotel for people trying to get autographs and didn't allow any inside. If the players wanted to sign on their way out they went over and did so. It was nice to see quite a few stop there before getting in their shuttles. Most of the players stayed upstairs but a few went out to eat or stayed in the lobby with family. The guys were comfortable hanging down there with friends and family without fear of being bothered by fans. Troy Brown had a huge group as did Deion Branch and Rohan Davey (complete with Jamaican food!) Harrison was around with his folks... (very quiet and reserved, classy guy). I introduced Steve and Bama to Big Bobby Hamilton and he stayed outside talking with us for awhile. Meanwhile, I was on the phone with Paulie from South Street trying to direct him to the hotel from Miami so he could pick up his tickets. Spoke to Antowain Smith, Patrick Pass, and Jarvis Green, all guys that I know from home. Said hello to Kevin Faulk and Pepper, two of the Endzone post-game regulars. Of course Al and I talked to Joe Andruzzi, and actually spent a couple of hours hanging with his brother Jimmy talking shop and watching the Yankees game after Joe went upstairs to bed. Bama was in heaven because his long lost Pats Babe, Stephanie resurfaced and showed up at our hotel.
Stephanie, Bama, and Judy
We got up early Sunday morning, got in another run, showered, then headed downstairs to begin the massive consumption of morning coffee.... Al and I sat outside and were later joined by Bama and Steve. The guys straggled to the buses... Lonie was one of the first on so we missed him, Jarvis stopped when he saw us and gave me a smooch, Givens recognized us and said hello as well. Tully Banta-Cain (TBC) came over and we shook his hand and wished him well on the day of his NFL debut! Of course Tedy said hi on his way by. Once they were all aboard we ate breakfast and headed out to the stadium.
Thanks to Bobby, we had a parking pass, but what a zoo that place was!! Trying to get to the Orange lot was an adventure....And they say Massachusetts drivers are bad! We parked next to some Pats fans but didn't really have time or stuff to tailgate so I guzzled a couple of Coronas and headed in early. (I had emailed Armen Z to try to hook up with their crew but he didn't get it on time... There's always next year!!) We had great end zone seats and I armed myself with my camera, many bottles of agua and I was good to go! There were actually quite a number of Pats fans around... Paulie, Dave, Clayton, and Ryan were in our section in some prime 4th row seats (sitting next to Richard Seymour's parents!)
As I said, if anything could top that emotional rollercoaster ride that I experienced on Thursday night, it was THIS game. So many times it could sway either way.. but... true to form, I never lost Faith!! The Dol-phans around us got awfully quiet at times, only to get new life and perk up again... Throughout the game, Pats fans could be heard chanting DE-FENSE; the 12th man traveled en mass to Florida to help break the curse. The stands stayed full, right up to that final moment...when Brady connected with Troy and he ran straight towards us!! The celebrating that took place on the field was incredible and could be mirrored by those of us standing on seats and dancing in the stands!! WOOOHOOO!!!!
South Street Crew!
It was so sweet to finally leave a visiting stadium victorious... the Mini Trek Crew was giddy upon departure. We hung around the lot to consume a few beverages and let the traffic subside a bit then headed back to the hotel. Flying high on our win, we even felt inclined to "donate" to the "Joke of the Day" guy on the side of the road who actually was pretty funny!! We had a drink in the lounge, Al watched some baseball then we called it an early night, almost wishing that we were flying out instead of waiting until morning .... My Red Sox hangover was cured, and I went to bed that night with a smile thinking of nothing but THIS game and the team that I love!
Check out the Complete Miami Photo Album for more pics...