Tuesday, February 05, 2002

Patriots Rally on City Hall Plaza

Couldn't resist. So... guess where I went today?

That would be Boston's City Hall Plaza and yes. I went out in the freezing awful cold to stand around for hours and hoot for guys I couldn't even lay eyes on. I went to the Patriots Welcoming Rally.

Shoulda stayed home and watched on TV, but... I actually had a very nice time.

I had left Ben a voicemail at work yesterday morning saying "Woooooo! Let's go!" and he called me back saying no one else wanted to go with him, and he wanted to, so sure. Let's go. We agreed to meet at his place at 10. I had hoped Holly would come too, but she opted out. She confessed to me that she isn't that big a fan yet and didn't feel that it was something she wanted to do. I would have enjoyed her company.

So Ben and I treked the way into the city, parking in one of the very last spots for the Wonderland T station, and we got to town at about 11:10. The picture above is what greeted us when we came up out of the Government Center T stop. Jumbotron central.

Here's Ben, wearing the best hat on earth... I was able to find him whenever we had a horde of people cram between us. Hurray for the hat!

And here am I. Green wooly cap and sunglasses, freezing and loving it.

And I'm thinking... I'm at the friggin Pats Rally. Holy Shit! I can't believe this! What the hell am I thinking!!!!!!!!

It wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it was going to be. When I left the house it was 18 degrees on the front porch, so I thought the worst and dressed overly warmly. There were tons of people to stop the wind, which wasn't as much of a factor as it could have been for an early February winter day. And it wasn't as bad as long as the sun was shining on us.

We walked around the plaza and realized that no matter where we stood we were shit out of luck if we wanted an actual human view of the stage. So we headed back to the Jumbotron and actually had a great spot to stand and look at the screen.

They were rebroadcasting the game, which sort of pissed me off. I think they should have showed the parade from Copley so we could see the guys as they were coming. The parade started at noon, they got to city hall plaza at about 1:30.

While we waited, this is what we saw.

This woman was one of like four dinguses walking around with these stupid donut things on their heads, bumping into people... Goddam corporate sponsorship stunts.

It made me think of Homer Simpson when he sold his soul to the devil for a donut. And in the end his head ends up shaped like a donut and he keeps picking at it.

The guy on the right was wearing this cool assed Pats hat that was beat to shit and totally ragged... and in a sea of thousands of brand new hats I thought it was kind of special. So I asked him if I could take his picture and he laughed. He kind of looked like Aaron too, and that made me smile.

The left is the top of Boston City Hall, home of the hack city employees... and there's a bunch of them standing up on top freezing ass. It was really windy up there and all these women are up there wearing fashiony leather coats and jumping up and down to keep warm. Accident waiting to happen. The right picture is part of the crowd between the City Hall Building and the JFK federal building... the stage is at the far end of this crowd, way in the shadows of City Hall. Dumb place for a stage.

This guy and his buddy were a trip.

You can't see it in the picture, but he's missing one of his front teeth and the ones that are in there are a friggin' mess. He and his buddy had a running conversation the whole time that amounted to hours of pure drivel.

The buddy, who has the hat on at the right edge of the picture and his back is turned, said some of the dumbest things I've ever heard. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what was the dumbest thing that stands out, but trust me...he was full of them. Toothless Guy agreed with every inane comment that came out of his mouth. They were kind of rude to the mentally handicapped dudes that were standing in front of us too, so I SO disliked these guys.


So much smarter and cooler than the assisted living handicapped guys... meh.

I do like this picture though because it looks like God rays shining down from Tremont street right on this dude... There is room at the cross for everyone, even you, ya toothless redneck.

And here are the handicapped guys. They were so nice and funny. They watched every play of the replay and cheered and clapped and booed as if it was happening live. The house girls that brought them were really funny too... great attitudes for two girls who probably didn't want to be hanging out in the cold with these three residents (you can see dude number three in the first picture, far left, hat on backward like Geoffrey likes to wear).

The dude in the blue tried to get a hi-five from a guy to my left and the guy just stared at him and then turned his back... so I tapped him on the shoulder and told him that I would gladly give him a hi-five. He was psyched and then told me how much he loves football. He knew every player when they came on the screen, and I talked to him for a while.

I make friends very easily.

How rude do you have to be to not want to have some friendly time with a dude like this?! They were sweet. Big Huge Pats Fans... and don't make fun of them for being 'retaaaahds' and Pats Fans at the same time like it is some sort of obvious connection. They were infinitely cooler than the toothless redneck and King Sarcasmo standing behind us.

Then the Pats show up, and they come down Tremont street, turn right onto Court Street, and then they went in the back of City Hall up the back stairs to the podium. here's a picture of the crowd facing up to the corner of Tremont and Court. And we can't see the Pats at all.

The wicked cool thing was when they hit the corner of Tremont and Court, they were showing the final drive of the game and Vinitieri's field goal, so everyone was going totally nuts and cheering, cause the timing was perfect.

Nicely done jumbotron boys...

They then put up a view of the podium, and the sign says "Mayor Thomas Menino and The People of Boston Congratulate the New England Patriots."

Then Bob Kraft comes up and puts the Lombardi Trophy up on the stage and the crowd goes insane... Totally insane.

Then, the Jumbotron Breaks.

It freezes on this picture of the guys coming up on to the stage. And it is stuck like this and they start the program.


Uh, hello, tech support! Come fix the jumbotron! So the crowd where we are starts to get restless. King Sarcasmo mentions that he thinks someone should start a chant "Fix the Tron Fix the Tron..." and two seconds later off to our left the chant starts up. He was thrilled at his powers of suggestion and his super human mental strength. He thinks it, we do it. Yes master... shut up!

The jumbotron doesn't fix, so some people start bailing and walking away, others start pouring over to the left to try and see the actual stage.

Then, they unfreeze the Jumbotron, and put up a Great Big Advertisement for Dunkin Donuts, (used earlier up in the picture of the two dudes from the assisted living house)... kind of a screensaver thing.

That gets booed wickedly. We can hear the program going on, and we know there are football guys there smiling and waving, but we're looking at a stinking corporate logo for something that I'd love to have more than anything right then.

So the crowd starts getting ugly.

They're throwing bottles of water up at the jumbotron and hitting the display. People start cheering. Ben and I both kind of stand there for a minute. At first I thought it was kinda funny, but then thought better of it when full bottles of liquid started to get hurled at the malfunctioning screen.

We decided to hotfoot it outta there. Find a bar, eat some food (neither of us had eaten before heading down and the hunger was starting to outweigh the novelty of hanging out...) so retreat was our obvious choice.

Ben suggested we head over to The Rack, a bar by Quincy Market, but there was a huge line waiting to get in there. We looked into a few other Quincy Market Bars, and they were overflowing. So off to the North End. We hit Joe's right there on the waterfront, and it was an hour wait for a table, and the bartender ignored us when we wanted a beer, so we screwed out of there.

We looked for the Aquarium T stop so we could bail back to Wonderland and then hit food on Rte 1 or something... but for some odd reason neither of us could FIND the Aquarium T stop. What the heck!!! It used to be at the corner of a hotel in front of the Aquarium, but damned if we could find it.

Dumbfounded, we walked south trying to figure out where to go, and decided to bail and cross back to the other side to the Financial District. We found a little Irish joint called Tiernans, it looked like it wasn't too darn crowded... There were two very busy waitresses and the owner greeting and encouraging people to come in and grab a table when ready. He had a nice thick Boston Irish brogue, and was darn friendly. I felt good about the place but kind of apprehensive when I looked at the crowd. How many of these people are here for a drink and how many are waiting for tables. The owner guy's "grab it if you see it open" policy kind of made me nervous.

Ben went to the bathroom and a table opened up, so I grabbed it. He was all ready to suggest we bail because he felt the same way I did, so he was surprised to see me sittin' down and readin' a menu.

We had a good lunch, a couple beers, watched some of the podium happenings on the TV, and relaxed. Aaah. Beer. Food. Warm. Nice.

We got the train back to Wonderland and I got home before rush hour could ruin my day.

Stupid Jumbotron!

I saw these guys on the way home on I-95. The sign says "Honk for the Pats!!!"

They passed me and I honked for them... and they cheered and hooted. Then I wanted a picture so I waited until there was free road in front of both of us and I caught up to them, rolled down the window and took this picture.

Those guys were laughing their asses off. The driver is cracking up. I love it. What a day. What a bunch of happy fans.

I had a lot of fun today, in spite of the jumbotron screwing up and the incredible amount of friggin people. The news on the way home said that there were 1.2 million people there. Ben and I were two of 'em. Yahhoooooooo!

I'm exhausted... but laughing. I so never need to go to another one of these things again as long as I live. I went. It was fun. I'm old...

Here are some observations I'd like to pass on:

1. Don't bring strollers or small ambulatory children to things like this. This particular event was rather mellow, but this whole thing coulda turned wicked ugly, wicked fast... so for the love of your kids, stay home and watch it on TV even if they beg you to take them.

2. High school kids should just get a room. Man. I saw more hanging on, pawing, and other gratuitously overt displays of love here that kind of surprised me. Get a room. Tell your parents you're going to the rally and stay home and paw each other. Man. The show here is supposed to be the Super Bowl Champs, not you and your Newton Lower Falls cheerleadin' girlfriend. Snarf.

3. There wasn't nearly enough face paint or other ridiculous behavior. If the Steelers had won, or the Raiders... fuggeddaboutit. The scene would have been full of crazy dressed freaks from every corner of the stratosphere out there showing their true colors. The fans here were patient, mellow, rather polite... kind of a let down. Not enough chanting, yelling, cheering. Perhaps it was where we were... The announcer came on the loudspeaker twice and told people in front of the stage to stop pushing and to stop doing the wave, that people were getting hurt.

4. Have a backup plan for the jumbotron, show the parade instead of a rebroadcast of the game, and for crying out loud, thank you for not letting Mayor "Mumbles" Menino talk. That was the best move of the day.

I so enjoy hanging out with Ben. He is so easy going, that sometimes it is such a relief. He didn't come into the day with an agenda in his mind that only he knew and wasn't willing to share... he's all about "whatever works. Let's go..." I am like that too for the most part, so a couple times the two of us stood there not doing anything, which was funny. Kind of weird. I am glad it was just us because Dan and Brian might not have had fun just standing around. So this was nice.

The bummer thing is that this morning after I dropped Geoff off at preschool I was almost in a car accident. I was driving up the road and a guy wanted to make a left hand turn but obviously had to wait for me. But he decided he didn't want to wait until I passed... he decided to jump RIGHT out where I am... without waiting for me to pass.

I slammed on the brakes, held my breath and closed my eyes. I ended up in the oncoming lane, and the guy was basically touching my right front fender and screaming at me. He was an old fart, with a HAT on... gotta watch those guys in hats. I stepped on the gas and drove away, and he sat there for the longest time. I could see him in my rear view mirror. Sitting there. Hope he was so scared by what he did that he shit his pants or something.


I actually for a split second was totally convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was going to hit me. Then, I said, Ben's waiting for me. I have no cell phone to call him and say "buddy, I can't make it." Football fan angels were watchin' over me.

My right hip and knee are killing me from the slamming of the brakes, just like a few months ago when I was coughing and almost hit someone and slammed my brakes. The freezing weather didn't help the stiffness. So a hot bath and a shot of whiskey are in order... And a nice hot pad. AAAAAHHHHH.

Okay. I gotta post this for posterity. Woo! and again I say Woo. Thanks for indulging me these past few days. Your regularly amusing journal will not be football filled henceforth.

Yay Pats.

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