The Ultimate Sideline Experience

Read Part 1 and Part 2!

We arrived at the NRG Stadium in Houston ready to get inside and on the field with our pregame sideline passes. After parking among the masses of Texans’ fans we hurried to get into the stadium. The tailgating started bright and early for Texan fans. It was literally a party with people grilling out and eating beer all at barely 10 a.m.

People directed us, here and there, and everywhere around the outside of the stadium before we finally found our proper entry into the stadium.

We were immediately directed behind industrial doors and down in the tunnels below the stands.

Hearts beating fast, we walked through the navy blue, red and white striped tunnel and emerged into a grand NFL Football ready stadium (which is where they are having the Super Bowl this year).

The view from the field is truly extraordinary. It’s beautiful. And these players, coaches and staff get to do this every weekend (well for 16 weekends a year, not including preseason games).

A few players were already on the field practicing and stretching as we made our way to the visitors’ side of the field.

Our phones stayed glued to our hands snapping as many photos as we possibly could, trying to take in this incredible moment.

We watch the players warm up, and one of the first players we recognize is Melvin Gordon, Running Back for San Diego. He came over to sign autographs and take photos with fans. We meet him, get a quick autograph and snap a pic. You can’t tell were excited at all can you? LOL.

We start chatting with some guys next to us who flew from San Diego to be at the game. One guy from the group kept hollering at the players to get their attention to come over to us. (Note: I credit their enthusiasm for our awesome photo ops.)

That’s when these California fellas ask us if we know P-O-D?

And I’m thinking like the band?

But with all of the chaos on the sidelines and trying to keep track of the players on the field I was unsure if I heard what they were saying correctly. So, I shook my head no.

Then another player approached. This time, it was someone we’d already met the night before. Melvin Ingram, the Bolts’ linebacker, came over to talk to fans.

“Hey, we saw you on the elevator last night,” I said.

“Oh, hey! Thought I recognized you. How ya doing?” he replied. We snapped a few photos with #54 and wished him good luck.

I start talking to the group of San Diego guys again, and they wrote a rock song for the Chargers. Finally Klay turns me around and said, “That’s P.O.D. The band. They sing “Youth of the Nation” and “Boom, here comes the boom…”  They also sing  “Alive.”

I mean DUH.

See this is why Klay and I work so well, he knows the names of the songs and who sings them and I know none of that–just the lyrics. But I did know who the band P.O.D. was, I just couldn’t name any of their songs off the top of my head.

So, we’re casually chatting with them, making friends, etc. when our friend Bill, who gave us the sideline passes stops by to talk to us. He’s dressed in all business attire ’cause this is work for him. Man, that has to be a pretty cool, stressful–yet–fun job.

Klay and I tell him about all of the players and coaches we bumped into in the elevator the night before. And we chatted about where we went to dinner and that we were just so excited and grateful to be there to cheer on our team.

We thanked him again and again for being so kind and responding to our story and my message.

Our friends (some of the P.O.D band) noticed we were talking, taking photos and chatting casually with Bill, so we led introduced them to Bill. Bill passed on his card to them as they chatted with him about the rock song they did (I guess they play it at the stadium).

Bill went back to working and one of the guys asked us how we knew him. I told him my story and how I’d contacted Bill and he gave us the sideline passes. They all high-fived me for beating cancer and told me they were glad that I was able to be there and they were able to meet us.

We all talked, laughed, took photos, and had a great time meeting our new friends. I still can’t believe we met P.O.D. or at least part of them. That’s pretty bad ass.

Could this day get any cooler?

Here’s Klay trying to get a job by talking to the Chargers’ General Manager, Tom Telesco, HahaI ‘m kidding. We did take photos with him though.

And here we are with the amazing Defensive Coordinator (who we saw the night before at the hotel), John Pagano.

Our P.O.D. buddies were able to wave Head Coach Mike McCoy over to the sideline. When the head coach made it to us he said, “hey, I was in the elevator with you last night.” He remembered us too.

There is even a PHOTO of Klay and I taking a photo with the coach on the Chargers website. 

And we also made it on Houston Chronicle’s website. Bad photo though of me.

We’re taking video and capturing as much as we can while we’re on the sidelines so close to the players.

Bill walks over to us again this time bringing a couple with him. Bill personally introduces us to Susie and Dean Spanos, the owners of the San Diego Chargers. They greet us and let us know they’ve heard our story and are so glad we could make it to the game.

They gave us some fancy Chargers hats and had the Chargers’ photographer take a photo of us, which they said they would have it mailed to us. EPIC.

Who gets a personal introduction to the owners of the San Diego Chargers? We do. Wow. That was pretty freaking AWESOME.

And we have Bill to thank for it. Seriously, this man is, just WOW. Klay and I will never be able to thank him enough.

I just hope that he knows how grateful I am for him to help me make one of Klay’s biggest dreams a reality.

We see everyone. From Tight End Antonio Gates and Rookie Tight End Hunter Henry to Receivers Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams (who we met the night before in the elevator with Coach McCoy).

I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves…

After the sideline party ends, Klay and I make our way to our incredible seats. And it couldn’t get any better because we are surrounded by Charger fans! Well except for my new pal Laney, who loves Oakland, but that day she rooted for the Chargers!

We had so much fun during the game. With every awesome pass, play or touchdown, we’d all stand and high-five each other. We couldn’t have been surrounded by a better group of people to help us root for our Bolts.

And the Chargers won 21-13.

Literally, the best day ever.

The best.

And my face says it all.

 

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6 Comments

  1. What a wonderful experience for you guys and it’s written all over your faces the fun and joy of the event! We loved getting to see you however brief! Much love

  2. Yolanda McLean Reply

    Awesome! This post made me cry. I love every bit of it! Y’all look fantastic and what an incredible celebration!

  3. Stephanie Ryan Reply

    This makes me so happy! Holding back tears on the plane. So glad all of this came together for y’all! Such a memorable experience! Can’t wait to meet up soon and hear more about it. I bet Klay’s life is made. FREAKING INCREDIBLE, Cass! Good job!

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