On Sunday, I went to see the NFL International Series game at Wembley. It’s kind of a big deal to take a meaninful American Football game to Europe, even if it was only a meaningful game for one team.
We were subjected to many reminders that this year was the anniversary of the 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect season. By definition, isn’t every year an anniversary? I had to work out that it’s the 35th all by myself - the much celebrated Coral anniversary. Yesterday’s game went to form though, making it eight straight losses for Miami and putting them half way towards the wrong kind of perfect season.
The day in pictures:
Executive flip-down seating with beverage holders.
Random pre-game entertainment: Cheerleaders, The Feeling and some giant shirts.
Dolphins warm up. Watching this from a distance it looks like a party in The Sims.
Fireworks as the teams run out on the pitch for the third time.
Miami throws up a prayer.
The Great British weather in attendance.
These photos were taken from my £125 "exclusive" Club Wembley seat. After missing out on three separate ticket ballots, I was well and truly suckered in by a masterpiece of marketing that goes a little something like this:
1. Release tickets in small chunks to create mass hysteria
2. Wait to see how much those tickets sell for on eBay (answer: up to £300 a pair)
3. Magically find another 17,000 tickets and set the price only ever-so-slightly lower than people are paying to the touts.
Wembley’s list of prohibited items is not vague about some of the things you’re not allowed to take in. Obviously weapons are not allowed, but I had to wonder what incident had led to the specific inclusion of darts on that list, and whether it involved a comedy head trauma.
Although not on the list, it seems they have also a problem with bottle caps – apparently they can be used as offensive weapons. Could someone please show me how? I’m willing to sustain a considerable wound in the interests of getting an answer to this.
I’m not talking about metal beer bottle caps, which could probably inflict quite a nasty scratch, but plastic screw-on caps from bottles of pop.
I found out about this right at the turnstile. Bored Security Goon #1 patted down my arms but decided he didn’t want to go any lower. Not a problem. Nobody keeps a dart in their pocket anyway, it’s always in the sleeve. He was more interested in the half-drunk bottle of water in my bag.
- "Sir I see you have a bottle there and we can’t allow any bottles with caps inside".
- "Oh. Why?"
- "Because it could be used as an offensive weapon."
I unscrew the offending sports cap. This kind actually could be used to create a water-pistol like jet if I squeezed the bottle really hard. "What, this?" I ask, trying to hold it threateningly. BSG#1 just ignores me and waves me through.
So I now have a capless bottle of water in one hand and the lethal cap of death in the other. If only I could work out how to put this darn thing back together.
Well, I nearly got away with it but Bored Security Goon #2 piped up as I walked past him, "Take a sip of your water please". Ok fine. This actually makes some sense. "Now finish it up and throw the bottle in this bag".
Logic has left the building.
Upstairs we’re greeted by a couple of fake cheerleaders who sign me up for a prize draw to win, wait for it, some cufflinks. I’m already too confused to argue so I just do what I’m told. Claire was signed up for the prize draw too. Apparently the female prize is also cufflinks.
I went to buy a drink inside the stadium. Nervous Guy assistant kindly opened my bottle of coke for me. "Can’t I have the caps?", I asked while he struggled to work out my change from a twenty. I’d actually bought two drinks, and his training hadn’t covered that yet. As he handed the caps back with a shrug, something rumbled in the distance as I realised I probably just got him fired.
I really don’t like it when someone talks to me like I’m fucking five years old. Especially when I’m not acting it. I’d already tried to get to my seat to be told "you can look through the window if you want but you’re not allowed in". Now, we meet Bottle Bitch.
- "You can’t have the cap"
- "Because… well I think you know why".
For fucks sake, seriously? Was it such a retarded question? I really, honestly don’t know.
- "You could throw it onto the pitch"
I hadn’t seen my seat yet, but I figured I’d need quite an arm to tickle the sideline with a tiny piece of plastic.
Claire and I had a bottled drink each, and while we started pointing out many other things that were much easier to make into a missle – including the handful of change that Nervous Guy had finally worked out – she swooped in and snatched away one of the caps.
Just one. And as much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t work out how to kill someone with the other.