Living in Cincinnati, I have become accustomed to weather men predicting horrible weather and then waking up to sun and no snow. So when the Dallas news stations started to warn me about the potential 100+ hours under the freezing mark, I mocked them. So it would get cold for a couple days, who cares? Then it would warm up and I walk amongst the many fans gathered in the city and all would be fine.
It doesn’t happen a lot, but I was wrong.
Woke up that morning to find the entire metro area of Dallas Fort Worth covered in a rather thick layer of ice. I’m not sure how Brian did it; he got up every morning – barely making a sound – and traversed the icy city in the dark without a navigator by his side. Forget all the great writing and reporting, that’s where the real work is. :) But I digress, ice. It was everywhere.
Deciding that Lewisville was not where the NFL experience was, Alex and I eventually broke down and rented a car. The nice people at enterprise came and picked us up. Their commercials might be a little lame, but it really is a great service. Facepalm number 3 of the week occurred when genius me decided that I could go rent the car in my pink packers slippers. Fast forward to me on the ground in the enterprise parking lot; my knee is still bruised.
Since the NFL decided that they weren’t going to hold any fan events indoors that day, Alex and I made a new plan, head over to Vernon’s, famous for its YouTube Packers TD celebration videos, and meet some Packers fans (or at least find someone to talk to besides each other).
I never knew this about Dallas, but its one BIG city – nay, its many decent sized cities all compacted into one metropolitan area and is the definition of urban sprawl. Nearly everywhere you needed to go was about 30 minutes away from where you were. But regardless, we were bound and determined; we were going to meet fans. So Alex packed up Corey’s camera, and I grabbed the gigantic stack of CHTV magnets and we slowly made our way to Vernon’s.
Just a little bit of ice.
Vernon’s however was not on the same page.
Refusing to give up, desperately hungry (and me thirsty) we searched for anything open. Finally we found Sherlock’s in Addison, where we met Curt and Michelle, Packer Backers from Cali. As we were getting ready to leave and head back to go ol’ Lewisville, Alex noticed that his old friend and ex-Badger, Brian Patterson was sitting at the bar with former pro center, Cory Raymer. I’m sure Alex will tell the story much better than I can, but what followed were many shots and me deciding to ask Cory Raymer every question I could possibly think of. Some things I learned: Brad Johnson is not a smart quarterback; players interact more with their position coach than their coordinator or their head coach; audibles are less about secret hand movements and more about turning around and yelling out a new play; players take a lot of pills and shots to get through the season; and finally, Chewy is kind of a douche bag.
SB is a big Redskins fan, Cory Raymer signed this for him.
Needless to say, there was a cab ride home in our future. I also learned a lot about our cabbie, who was from Ghana and did not watch the world cup. Apparently I am a genius interviewer when drinking; I just need to find someone to record it all for me, so I don’t forget everything.
The next morning, Brian went back off to work, and Alex and I went about securing a cab to retrieve our car. The ice combined with the cabbie strike equaled a two hour wait. But eventually we made it to our car, just much later in the day then planned. With the Inside the Huddle taping scheduled for that night, that left us little time to do much else, so we decided to take our chances with Vernon’s again.
This time we had more luck.
The first thing you see when entering Vernon's.
Vernon’s has a very distinct old Wisconsin bar feel to it. We sat and talked shop with the few people at the bar and watched a guy try to get one of his two cars that were stuck in the Vernon’s parking lot out using table salt. Note to Dallas residents: table salt will work, if you drop it and then try to move the car. If you go back inside for 20+ minutes, the ice will just refreeze. Also, if your car is sitting on top of ice, all you really need is a good push, and you’ll be golden. Remember this for the next time this happens in 10 years from now.
Eventually Mr. Behnke took a break from being cameraman extraordinaire and we all headed downtown to watch James Jones and Santana Dotson and meet some more people. Side note, if you’re ever in a caravan with Corey and Alex, Corey drives a lot more aggressively than Alex. Just in case you were wondering.
The Inside the Huddle taping was pretty much what I had been waiting for. With the ice and cold, it seemed like everyone in Dallas was staying inside, but that night the House of Blues was filled with Packers fans. William Henderson, James Jones and Santana Dotson were all on stage answering questions from the audience. We learned about the Packers wide receivers helping impregnate a cow down on Jordy’s farm and I melted every time Santana Dotson smiled. As the night was ending we noticed Josh Sitton at the end of the bar, I went up to say hello. He was with T.J. Lang, and I’m pretty sure that they had no idea that the House of Blues was having a Packers night as I think there were trying to fly under the radar (like a cheesehead). A very “interesting” dance party followed the event and we all decided it was time to leave. On our way out the door, we passed Santana Dotson. I was and am a HUGE Santana fan. Completely flabbergasted, I gushed out a big thank you and then told him that I celebrate his birthday every year. This while being completely true, is probably not the best thing to say to a person. But alas, I’m a Packers fan dork and I am what I am.
Inside the Huddle taping.
We parted ways with Corey at this point, and headed to meet up with my twitter friend, AP reporter, and Arsenal follower, Chris Jenkins. Alex drank cranberry juice while I was crazy excited to sit and talk with the media people. Apparently Rob Demovsky knows who I am, and I thought that was pretty cool.
After a few wrong turns, we eventually found our way back to Lewisville and made plans that come hell or high water, despite the cold or ice or whatever else Dallas was going to throw at us, the rest of the week would go back to following our original plan.
Did it ever warm up? Did I keep drinking? Stay tuned to find out.