Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wristbands on Opening Day

First of all, I want to say that the wristband idea was a good idea.  I'm not sure if it was a recycled idea, an original, or what... but I believe that it helps.
     We all know that if you want to get an early wristband, you STILL have to get there plenty of time before the wristband window opens up.  Sometimes the "three hour window" (between 3 and 6 hours before kickoff) doesn't help in my "need for sleep" department but, it's doable if there's a need for me to be in a certain area of the 100s or front rows of 200's.
     On opening day this season vs New York, my daughter and I were in the wristband line at 7:15 AM and word was that the wristbands would go out some time between 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM.  Her brother and her had worked on their two-sticks and we needed to get to a place where people would see them.  It was to be the conclusion of our little family project... so we needed to get into the heart of the Army.
     I have sat in line several times before, but usually it's with an adult friend or two and involves half-hidden bottles of alcohol and a trip or two to Hot Lipps for Pizza and bathroom breaks.  This was the first time getting there early with Emma and letting her get this particular game-day experience.  Instead of the warmth of whiskey or fullness of beer, hot chocolate was in order and it was perfect.  We were by the bus stop on the corner of Jelly Wen, sitting in our chairs, and watching the pick-up soccer game that had developed.  Part of the time she was wrapped in her Timbers blanket, keeping warm while sitting there, and part of the time she was kicking the community soccer ball against the wall.  We passed the ball around a bit, and had an overall good time.
Some of the time Emma was wrapped nice an cozy in her blanket

Emma was able to play with another Little Timber
 Some of the time we were kicking the community ball around

The Palmerball retrieval team from the
pickup footy game

     One regret I have... she asked if she could join in with the pick-up footy that began, but everybody was a lot bigger than her, and I told her she should probably sit this one out... I should've let her play.  But I digress.  Good thing we'll have a few more of these down the road.

     So back to the wristbands.  As the day grew on, from breakfast time to brunch, the line began to swell.  It was visible, and to be expected.  In my opinion, there is a difference between a person walking up to join their partner in line, and a group of people joining the one person who drew the short straw to go get in line early.  It's kind of frustrating, but again, it's not unexpected or earth shattering "stop the world I want to get off" kind of stuff.  So the wristbands were handed out and I was #297 and Emma was #300.

     We wasted a little bit of time, a quick stop at Quiznos on the corner, and my wife and son joined us in Portland (we live South about 45 minutes).  We went to Blue Star Donuts and were able to get in on the last three platters of donuts of the day.  bliss.
Alex hides under the counter at BlueStarDonuts

We visited The Fanladen and headed back to Jelly, where Emma and I sat for a little bit with my wife and son, who were able to get into line at the front of one of the main gates.

    At 2:00 the wristband line was supposed to form again, but there wasn't hardly a line at all.

    At 2:15 the line had begun to form.

This year, there are markers on the posts that indicate what number of wristband should be at what approximate area in the line (they may have been there last year, but I remember a different system, that worked better... more on that to come).  These markers are up in the air and are wrapped around fixed posts.
     We walked toward the 300 marker, but discovered that people with 700 wristbands were standing near it. People that were seated 20 yards behind us in line in the morning, that had wristbands in the 400's were standing near the edge of the building where tents had been from the night before.  There was no enforcement or good will regarding wristband order that was worth a shit.  People that I recognized as long time season ticket holders jumped about 200 spaces in line, and joked about it saying nothing could get them to move.  Some drunk 20 somethings pushed their way in front of my little girl, their wristbands being about 40 behind us.  I don't really stress too much about the 20-30 range regarding tickets, and I wasn't concerned about these guys, but then 10 of their buddies joined them.  Then... a guy that was a little older than me, who was there with his wife and a daughter that was younger than mine, almost fought some of the youngsters that had pushed in front of us.  It was a little bit crazy.
     The problem is there is no enforcement of the number system once everybody returns to line.  From what I remember last year, the 100's (200, 300, etc) were given signs to hold indicating what number they were.  This made it easy for somebody when comparing numbers, to say "you're back there, behind the 300 sign"... it allowed drunk bastards to save face, and help to keep things not so confrontational.  I'd like to see every 50th person with one of those signs, I think it'd make for a more respectable line, keep confrontations down, and help to make sure that people who showed up early, waited in the cold, got their wristbands, spent time downtown, and got back in line when they were supposed to don't get pushed back by inconsiderate jackwagons who don't care.  We're all one big happy family, and there are plenty of seats (as was pointed out by the kids in front of us when they were nearly fighting the old guy), but disrespect and disorder are what they are.
     I understand that the front office took over the organization of the wristband process, but if any of you are able to contact them and relay my request, or if you have a better solution... would you please pass it forward?
     The wristband solution allows a little bit of freedom to roam around and keeps the build-up to the match from getting too far out of hand, but it still can get better.  I think the numbered stick can do the trick.

Whether the wristband line ever comes to order or not, we'll still be there, just for the experience.  We wouldn't be anywhere else.