Last Sunday we decided to have a small, intimate, family outing . . . along with, oh, 71,000 other noisy people. We traveled to the “big city” (aka, Houston) to root on our Houston Texans in their NFL season finale. The opponent? The always-tough New England Patriots.
Sidebar: Our family’s company has had season tickets since the Texans were born back in 2002 out of the ashes of the Houston Oilers, who were ripped from our fine city by a greedy owner. The last time we attended a Texans game as a family was in that inaugural season. The #2 son, a mere seven years old, hated the noise, and he and I spent most of the game on the mezzanine level watching the game on one of the overhead televisions. Since then, the Mister has taken one of the boys to a game each year (we usually only have two tickets, and others often claim them), while I’ve stayed home with the other one. But this time we had four tickets, and, hopefully, a great game to see!
The temperature was in the 40s when we got to the game, so I was extremely hopeful that the retractable roof would be closed. Mercifully, it was.
We have terrific seats—they’re 15 rows up and on the 35-yard line. But that means that sometimes the TV cameraperson is blocking our view.
This was a key game for the Texans. A victory meant both their first winning season (a 9-7 record) and a chance to advance to the playoffs (which they didn’t, unfortunately). I checked the stadium’s rules for cameras and learned that lenses longer than 12 inches weren’t allowed. Even my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens is shorter than that! However, I opted for Nikon’s 105mm and 50mm lenses—no chance to be hassled at the gate with those two pups.
I used the 105 in the first half, and it proved to be pretty capable (albeit not as great as those 600mm lenses the sideline photogs use; not as expensive either). It was great for stopping the action on this fine defensive play.
And its aftermath!
But it was frustrating having to shoot around and between the people who insisted on standing in front of me.
I wish I could’ve tied them to their seats! I also wish I could invent a crane system that would lift people out of their seats and deposit them on the mezzanine level, so they’d stop going back and forth in front of us (we always have to stand to let people get to the stairs). That would be a boon to stadium society!
The 105 also came in handy to document what life is like for the fans. Like with the food and drink vendors, who sport these huge buttons. Don’t need the reading glasses for these!
And especially the cotton candy vendor. The #1 son really honed in on him.
#1 is a fervent cotton candy fan. When we would attend Houston Astros games when he was younger, the sweet treat would keep him quiet and happy for, oh, a good inning or two. He has more staying power these days, thank goodness, but he still enjoys that colorful tangle of sugar.
I enjoyed seeing the fans who go all out for our team. It takes true devotion to completely paint your face in team colors, as well as wear some ugly face on the back of your head!
Of course, what the outing was all about was having a memorable moment with my sons. We had fun being together and yelling for our home team.
And it sure didn’t hurt that the Texans won 34-27! We’re psyched for next season!!