Friday, February 27, 2004

Mile High Madness

I like to think I'm a very law abiding citizen and would never do anything purposely that would get me into any trouble with authorities. But sometimes you're faced with a choice to make between following the rules set in front of you and go home empty-handed or break those said rules and get not only a great story but a piece of history to keep forever. A few years ago I was faced with just a choice and my true nature was revealed in the blink of an eye.

My mother, to my great happiness, is a Denver Bronco season ticket holder. Her seats are in the infamous South Stands, known to be the rowdy side of Mile High Stadium. We're the part of the crowd that's known to throw things at the opposing team & shout obscenities at fans wearing gear that isn't blue & orange. When the defense is in our end, they rely on us to help get them pumped up to make the big stops.

No game atmosphere was more electric than on December 23, 2000. It was the last Bronco game played at the old Mile High Stadium. They played the 49'ers and it turned into a rout, Denver winning 38-9. As if the fans didn't need to be more pumped up, especially on our end of the stadium! Towards the end of the 4th quarter when it was very obvious that Mile High was going out in a blaze of glory, the fans began celebrating by ripping the place to pieces.

Now for those of you who didn't have the privilege of visiting Mile High before it was gone, let me describe the South Stands a little bit. It was all benches covered with thick orange fiberglass. To my surprise, it was very easy for people to break these benches off into pieces. While Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" blared through the stadium, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people had their seats in their hands and were waving them in the air. From where Mom & I stood, it was an awesome sight.

I asked my mom if she wanted to take her seats and she just looked at me like I was crazy! They had made repeated announcements that they would not hesitate to prosecute anyone attempting to steal property of Mile High and they had extra security & police officers all over the stadium. She was positive that if she even thought of taking her seats, she'd be immediately thrown in jail.

But we had some excited, helpful guys sitting behind us who asked Mom which seats were hers and then proceeded to rip them up for her. They handed her a section of dirty, smelly bench about 4 feet long...seats 24 & 25. She accepted it gracefully and covered it with her Bronco blanket. As the game ended and the fans were leaving, I asked what she was going to do with the bench, expecting her to just lay it on the ground and forget about it.

To my shock & delight, she wrapped it in the blanket tightly and hugged it to her body as she descended the steps. The mass of humanity leaving the game was immense and it wasn't very obvious that she had anything but her blanket clutched in her arms. She studiously avoided police officers and security personnel, convinced she was going to get out of Mile High with her piece of history.

And then we hit the final gate.

We had to walk right by a guard who was diligently doing his job. He eyed her blanket and she pressed it closer...nothing like being obvious! He reached out for her..."I'm going to need to see what's under your blanket, ma'am." I panicked! That's all I can say! I didn't want Mom to go to jail, although I'm not so sure that she would have for attempting to remove the bench, but I also didn't want her to lose it. It was a piece of history, for crying out loud! Plus they were just going to demolish the stadium anyway and we had PAID for those seats! Why couldn't we take them??

In the second that the guard reached out to pull the blanket off the hidden treasure, I knew what I was going to do. I lowered my shoulder, slammed into my mother's back and yelled "GO MOM!" There were so many people in that small space that my momentum in getting her out of there caused the crush to surge forward at an amazing rate. In the blink of an eye, we were past the danger and the bench was ours free & clear!

We hustled to the car as fast as our feet could carry us. Only one guy yelled out across the parking lot, "Hey! That old woman has a bench under her blanket!" But I think it was said in admiration rather than trying to get her caught. She stuffed the bench, still wrapped, in the trunk of her car and pulled out of there like a...well, like a criminal.

We laughed like loons for about half an hour as we drove through Denver. We got right outside of Castle Rock when a cop pulled behind us. Mom panicked. She was sure he knew what she had in her trunk and was there to stop her and take her away for life!

The best part was when we got home and found out that my dad, husband, brother & sister-in-law had been extremely concerned for us after seeing the craziness on televison. They couldn't believe that Mom had actually participating in the looting they had just seen. We suprised them all that day, I think.

The bench is just sitting in my mom's basement storage room now. But it's cool knowing that down there is a piece of history, something that only a few hundred criminals can say they, too, have!

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?