Well, at least the weather was nice. In fact it was a perfect day for a football game. The parking situation at the stadium is a mess though because a new stadium is being built right in the area of the parking lot where we have been tailgating for almost as long as the Jets have played here. We knew we would have to get to the game early to stake out a new territory. We also knew this might not be easy because everyone thinks they have squatter's rights to where they are used to parking. The situation is alleviated a bit if you are a season-ticket holder because only then can you get a parking pass that will allow you to actually park in the lot. And only one pass per owner of season tickets, regardless of how many tickets you own. Everyone else has to park in a satellite lot and then take a bus. This makes it hard on people who regularly go to the game but don't have their own tickets.
Well, Bernie wasn't about to get caught flat-footed. We were bound and determined, along with our buddy Bob and his wife, the Lovely Loretta, to get there early and establish a base camp. We were going in blind though, so we didn't know what to expect. Bernie showed up at my place at 6:00 A.M. and after about a ten minute delay due to me running a bit late, we were on our way. We met up with Bob and his wife at a gas station by the stadium and headed in. Luckily we got there early enough so that finding a spot wasn't a problem.
This spot really was great because they are now strictly enforcing the one spot per car rule. We usually set up a tent between two cars so we thought this might be a problem. However, by parking right in front of the the parking lot pole we found we had ample room behind the car to set up.
Base Camp Established
After setting up we celebrated with some Jets themed donuts and coffee from Dunkin' Donuts.
Breakfast Of Champions
Of course this was also the perfect opportunity to crack open my keg of Heineken, which is Jets themed as well, although not intentionally.
Bernie Cracking The Keg
I had my first glass and I found it to be quite good. In my opinion, much better than bottled Heineken. It seemed smoother and had a bit more malt flavor to it. Maybe next time I will try to do a direct comparison to the bottled Heineken but we didn't have any with us today.
Bar Man Sampling The Beer
As our group grew others got their nose wet as well.
Ronnie Pulling His Beer
The only complaint I had about the keg was that as you got down to the end you really can't control the pressure and so the last several glasses you try to pour come out mostly foam. It didn't seem to make any difference how we tried to pour it, the result was pretty much the same.
I have a keg of Heineken Light that I will bring to the next game and we will see if that one works better. If not, they may need to figure out a way to adjust the pressure a bit.
My friend, J.C., likes Russian beers so he usually brings an assortment to the game. I very seldom meet a beer I don't like, although I like some much less than others. These Russian beers are usually very good though. They tend to favor the malt over the bitters, which is fine with me. Now don't get me wrong, I like a hoppy IPA, and the hoppier the better. It is just that it seems as though hops is the new thing and even a lot of lagers are starting to taste like IPAs. A nice malty beer is a pleasant change of pace and this one was just fine.
New Neighbor, Bar Man, And J.C. About To Quaff
Oh yes, our new neighbors. As you can imagine, parking spaces like the ones we scored hadn't just been sitting vacant all these years. Eventually the crowd who used to park here showed up and a few of them weren't too pleased that we had "poached" their spot. We kind of explained that there were thousands of people who had been displaced and they all had to park somewhere so spots were pretty much up for grabs. Most of them were cool with this but a few seemed to continue to harbor a bit of a grudge. As more and more of our crowd began to infiltrate they realized that a whole crowd had moved in and that we weren't about to relocate. As I said, most of them just accepted the inevitable and we kind of blended the two groups together so we at least have a temporary truce. Most of their group was really quite friendly, but we will see if there will be some kind of a competition as to who can get to the game earliest in the weeks to come.
Back to the beer. I can't pronounce the name of the Russian beer we were drinking, but here is a picture. I know you can buy it at any number of deli's in Brighton Beach where there is a large Russian community.
Now, just because we got to the game early doesn't mean we left early. We always like to let the crowd thin out a bit and have a post-game tailgate party while we are waiting. As you can see, by the time we were ready to leave the parking lot looked as deserted as when we arrived. A bit messier though.
Now, and I think this is a bit unfair, the Mysterious Chinese Lady said that the condition of the parking lot at the end of the game was very similar to the condition of our kitchen after I do my tailgate preparations. You be the judge.
All and all we had a good time even though the Jets just got creamed by New England and our quaterback Chad left the game with an injured ankle. The play that will get shown again and again on ESPN was the longest kick-off return for a touchdown in NFL history, 108 yards. I can say I was there, even though it wasn't the Jets who did it. It could be a long season, but at least our next home game is against Miami. We always do well against them. Our next game though is against Baltimore and with their defense we will be in big trouble if Chad has mobility problems. I suspect he will not play.