January 15, 2014: Club Seats Score
A Broncos playoff win. A day of football. A sweet surprise.
Sunday was intended to be a day full of errands and crossing things off Garrett's and my collective lists. A quick weekend in Denver was to entail some skiing and playing catch-up post-nuptials.
As we sat drinking our beers at the airport on Friday night, Garrett received a random e-mail. Were we interested in Broncos tickets for the Sunday playoff game. YES!! Oh, and there was a parking pass too.
Saturday we bagged skiing and instead opted for the list elimination route including the pick up of our coveted tickets. After a drive to Sports Authority Field, Garrett gathered the designated envelope from the will call window. We quickly read our seat assignments. Champion Club. The parking pass read VIP. Wow. They sure sounded important.
Giddy with our discover, Garrett and I responded as any excited fans would. We bought Broncos stuff at the stadium gift shop. A stocking cap and zip sweatshirt for me. A bright orange pullover for him.
We then decided that game day should start early. We deduced that the best place to watch the earlier televised Panthers/49er's game was at the stadium. So with NFL-approved Ziploc in hand and stocking cap in place, we easily secured our VIP spot in the parking lot.
Upon entry, we found that our seat locations were a mystery. The handy attendants at the entrance hadn't heard of the Champion Club section. It took us three asks until we found a resourceful young lady at the Information Services counter. We were guided to an inconspicuous elevator to the left of Gate 23. Obviously everyone else in the Champion Club seats knew where they were going as we were the only ones asking.
We followed countless turns and passed private rooms bearing corporate names. During our journey, Garrett pointed out a general eating and drinking area with big screen TV's. Instead of stopping we pushed forward, continuing the trek to our seats. We could always go back, I surmised.
Soon we reached a big sign emblazoned with "Champion Club". I swore I heard a harp playing as a kind gentlemen in suit and tie asked, "Is this your first time in the Champion's Club?"
As Garrett and I affirmed the obvious, he smiled and nodded his head. "Let me show you around."
We walked in the glass door and were directed to an endless food buffet to our left. A server was carving prime rib while a waitress filled an entire table with iced jumbo shrimp. There was every variety of protein with an accompanying fancy name. The desert bar left out no sweet.
Next our attention was brought to the full serve bar to our right. Lighter munchies of homemade barbecue potato chips and fresh fruit garnered either side. As Garrett and I eyeballed the selection of beers on tap, our host shared the clincher.
"All food and drink is complimentary to our Champion guests."
Welcome to Fantasy Island. I was convinced Tattoo would soon come out and escort us to our reserved seats.
With plates heaping of moist prime rib and Monterrey avocado chicken, Garrett and I watched the end of the 49er's game from the big screen adorning our table.
Broncos cheerleaders sat behind us and practice squad players dressed in sweats were to our left. And then there were a whole bunch of people who looked very important, but I hadn't a clue on their identities. We later realized that the pretty girl at the table to our right was the National Anthem singer.
Halftime brought us back inside. The Champion Clubbers were gathering and forming a semi-circle. This wasn't their first rodeo. Garrett and I picked a spot that we thought was out the the way. In reality, we were in the thick of the announcements by local celebrities. Chairs were pulled up and people, whom I had never heard of, were introduced.
Garrett and I were unknowingly on center stage, as seemingly notable people came forward upon their introduction. Most appeared to be former football players. I just kept smiling and clapping.
As we continued our polite applause, a towering man walked up to the microphone. As he and I connected eyes, he proceeded to give me a big hug and asked, "How are you doing?" He then shook Garrett's hand with a "Good to see you, Man."
The irony was that he thought we were someone of note, which of course, we were not. So he erred on the side of pretending he knew us. I did Google him later. He was a previous Broncos player turned motivational speaker. Nice guy.
As I continued to watch the parade of people march around the Champion Club, I was reminded of a song from a play from years back. The Unsinkable Molly Brown. We put on this musical in high school. I was in the chorus.
The song of note that I remembered so well was "The Beautiful People of Denver". It did continual loops through my head. These were the beautiful people of Denver. And I hadn't a clue who any of them were. Except for the cute National Anthem singer and the nice guy who hugged me. Thank-you, Google.
The club seats were a score. My last beer was regrettable later given my three hour airplane delay into Omaha. But it was all worth it in the end. A Broncos win. And best of all, my favorite athlete, Peyton Manning, continues to impress. Omaha, Omaha, Omaha....