Day 5 - Football!!!September 12, 2016 in the United States
We started the day at a recommended coffee shop called Sight Glass. The coffee was good and the atmosphere was like most independent places. But there was no time to dawdle and soak it up. Our aim for the morning was to get a ride on the famous San Francisco cable car. However, by the time we reached downtown the queue was huge and we decided to give it a miss for today. So instead we walked up and down the route the car would have taken. Seeing the hills of the city and walking them are two very different things. By the time we reached the area called North Beach, lunch was definitely needed. We found a cafe, Pat's Cafe, which served good looking home made meals. As I'm going to try as many different 'all American' meals as possible I went for the Corned Beef Hash. I had little idea as to what I was ordering and when it came out I was certain Corned Beef didn't look like that, but it was really tasty and a hearty meal for the day ahead.
We then went down to the harbour where there is a unique museum come arcade warehouse called 'The Musée Mécanique'. It's a really cool collection of very old penny machines and the beginnings of interactive entertainment I suppose. Alice beat me on a (clearly broken) driving game where her driving was considered 'fair' and mine needed 'more practice'. There was also a 'handshaking game' where you shake the hand, or rather squeeze, the hand of Abraham Lincoln and he gives you a rating. Alice's was considered 'mild' whilst mine was 'sweet'. Thanks Abe. Rather more quarters were spent on other games and then we decided to leave for the 'big' game.
We were off to see the 49ers. They were playing the LA Rams in the first game of the season. And that's about the extent of my knowledge of American Football. We left relatively early as it was going to take at least two hours to get there from the harbour. A tram and two trains were needed. Both trains were absolutely packed with fans heading to the game. In the seats in front of Alice and I on the first train there were two excited fans heading to the game making plans for a 'boy's weekend' away. It went something like this:
It's a chill thing.
Not a party thing?
Yeah more chill thing.
I was thinking boat thing.
And this thing went on for 90 mins. Once we reached the stadium it was heaving. Everyone who worked there was incredibly polite as we were ushered in and there was light joking between the 49ers' and Ram's fans. First port of call was the Franks stand. With a jumbo frankfurter in one hand and a beer in the other Alice and I felt the part. Then suddenly the mood changed when the announcer let everyone know that there was to be a silence for the victims of 9/11 followed by the national anthem. After the silence, which was very well observed, there was an imposing and emotional fan near to us who yelled out 'stand up, stand up'. Alice and I were luckily already standing and we weren't quite sure who he was shouting out. With his baseball cap over his heart he was really in the moment. With mustard still dribbling down my chin I was for some strange reason caught up too and bang on cue at the end of the national anthem two fighter jets flew over head with ear bursting noise and fireworks erupted everywhere. It was truly spectacular in every sense. We hadn't even gotten to our seats by this point and we were still in the 'Pepsi Fan Zone'. I read after the game that some of the players for the 49ers knelt on one knee during the national anthem in support of the black lives matter movement. I'm guessing that is who the fan was shouting at but who knows.
The 49ers were rank outsiders before the game and they ended up winning by 28-0. I was told that the game was sold out. To be honest I don't know how you would know that being there as nobody seems to stay seated for longer than 30 minutes. It does go on for about 3 hours mind. There are numerous adverts on the big screens during plays with various offers such as 'if 49ers win, Papa John's has 49% off everything tomorrow'. Offers and rewards are handed out like confetti. It was during a reward announcement that I found out that 'Jaxson' and 'Shreesh' are actual names.
The hammering of a local rival ensured there was a good atmosphere after the game. At no time did this spill into anything other than sheer excitement. Really good entertainment all round. Now, we just have to get two trains and then an uber and we're home!
Song of the Day:
Radiohead - Palo Alto (we passed it on the train)Read more